KARLSRUHE, Germany—The only person in the world convicted in the Sept. 11 terror attacks won a retrial yesterday after a German appeals court faulted Washington for refusing to allow testimony from a key Al Qaeda captive.
The Federal Criminal Court overturned the conviction of Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan, leaving German prosecutors with little to show for their efforts to pursue suspects who may have belonged to the Hamburg cell that included three of the suicide hijackers.
A month ago, el Motassadeq’s friend Abdelghani Mzoudi was acquitted of identical charges of giving logistical aid to the cell.
Relatives of Sept. 11 victims again expressed frustration and Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Otto Schily, called yesterday’s ruling “regrettable.”
El Motassadeq, 29, who was found guilty in February, 2003, remains in the Hamburg prison where he was serving the maximum 15-year sentence for more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization.
Presiding Judge Klaus Tolksdorf said he is still “under a high degree of suspicion.”
In Washington, Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, said the court ruling was a German affair.
A German affair? Since when is 9-11 a German affair? Just get Ashcroft to send the witness. What the shit.