A Moroccan national, who had been suspected of helping plot the September 11 attacks against the United States, has been jailed for seven years for belonging to a terrorist group.However, Mounir el Motassadeq was found not guilty of helping orchestrate the assaults after a court in Hamburg was unable to establish evidence. The verdict came after a year-long retrial. Motassadeq had been jailed for 15 years on both charges in 2003, but that verdict was quashed on appeal last year after it was ruled he was unfairly denied testimony from other al-Qaeda suspects being held in the US. . Motassadeq is accused of belonging to the so-called Hamburg cell believed to have been behind the attacks. Prosecutors argued he provided key assistance to the three September 11 hijackers. The evidence suggested that al-Qaeda leaders who assessed the group’s members at an Afghan training camp had found Motassadeq to be lacking and rejected him for a leading role. But lawyers for the 31-year old father-of-two claim he is an innocent man who has gone on trial for guilt by association due to his friendship with a group of Muslim students in Hamburg. The judge explained his decision by criticising the US’s failure to grant access to other al-Qaeda suspects it is holding. Washington argues it can not do so on security grounds.
Motassadeq jailed for 7 years