Mounir el-Motassadeq (Arabic: منير المتصدق; born April 3, 1974) was accused of being a member of al-Qaeda and of assisting some of the organizers of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was initially convicted of involvement in the attack, but his sentence was set aside on appeal, then reinstated on further appeal. On January 8, 2007 he was sentenced to serve 15 years by the German court.
Motassadeq first came to Germany in 1993 and moved to Hamburg in 1995, where he studied electrical engineering in college. Little is known of his activities at this time, but he did move into the Hamburg cell apartment owned by Mohamed Atta and lived in by many other people who would later go on to lead the September 11, 2001 attacks.
On May 22, 2000, Motassadeq flew to Istanbul, and from there to Afghanistan. He soon returned. When the four 9/11 leaders went from Germany to Afghanistan to train, Motassadeq remained in Germany. German police were able to wiretap Motassadeq, but apparently did not discover any incriminating information. He maintains his innocence. "There never was a terrorist organization in Hamburg," he said.
At Motassadeq's trial, Aysel Sengün, the girlfriend of one of the hijackers, Ziad Jarrah, was called to testify her relationship with Jarrah and his role in the plot. Motassadeq maintained he did not know and the trial never established that Motassadeq had advanced knowledge of the details of the attacks. Nevertheless, he had assisted their plot by paying their tuition and rent to keep up their appearance of being students. He is said to be friend of hijackers Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah and "a member of their prayer group".
In February 2003, he was convicted in Germany of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder. He was convicted in direct relation to the September 11 attacks, but the conviction was rejected on appeal. Though the German Justice Ministry pressed the United States to allow Ramzi bin al-Shibh to testify, the U.S. refused, and the verdict and sentence were set aside.
On February 7, 2006, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ordered an early release of Motassadeq. The highest court of Germany ruled there was an absence of proof that Motassadeq was informed about the September 11 terrorist plot.
On November 15, 2006, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled on the appeals: They considered the evidence as sufficient to prove that Motassadeq knew about and was involved in the preparation of the plan to hijack the planes and is hence guilty of accessory in 246 counts of murder. This is the number of victims that died in the planes but does not include the victims on ground. The Oberlandesgericht (state high court) in Hamburg then took up the trial again in order to decide on the sentencing. Two days later, the Federal Court of Justice also revoked the release order and Motassadeq was arrested again. On January 8, 2007, he was sentenced by the Oberlandesgericht Hamburg to 15 years in prison. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany did not accept to revise his case. On May 2, the German Federal Court of Justice rejected a plea for revision. His lawyers are currently thinking about both calling upon the European Court of Human Rights and trying to get the case reopened – his two ultimate legal choices left.
Ahmad Wali Siddiqui whose interrogation triggered a 2010 terror alert was a friend of Motassadeq since 1997 who also patronized the mosque attended by many other Hamburg-based 9/11 plotters. The al-Quds or Taiba mosque was closed down by officials in August 2010 because it became an attraction for Muslim extremists.
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