A Moroccan man who was friends with three of the 9/11 suicide hijackers has been found guilty in Germany of belonging to a terrorist organisation. Mounir al-Motassadek, 31, was sentenced to seven years in prison following a year-long retrial.
However, the court in Hamburg ruled there was no proof that he knew about the 11 September 2001 plot. Motassadek was originally convicted of those charges in 2003 but the verdict was overturned and a retrial ordered.
After the original conviction was quashed by Germany's Supreme Court last year, the retrial heard new evidence - excerpts of interviews with key al-Qaeda suspects provided by the US. One of these told how Motassadek had taken part in vitriolic anti-US discussions in the home of hijacker Mohammed Atta, but also insisted he was not aware of the 9/11 plot.
Prosecutors argued that Motassadek provided key assistance to the "Hamburg cell", pointing out that he signed the will of Atta - believed to be the ringleader of the 19 suicide hijackers - and held power of attorney on the bank account of another hijacker. While the hijackers were attending flight training schools in the US, he used that power of attorney to handle the transfer of small amounts of money for them.
Motassadek had also admitted attending an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in early 2000.
Looks like the boys at Gitmo are getting some useful information out of the terrs. Another win for the good guys .