Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Jul 19, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
International
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment |

International Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

9/11 case may widen U.S.-German rift

By David Rose

HAMBURG, JULY 18. German prosecutors are preparing to drop all the most serious charges against the only man convicted for the 11 September attacks, because they fear crucial American evidence was obtained by torturing detenus.

The case is set to further deepen the rift between Germany and the United States, which accused the Germans of failing to act against terror when it first emerged three of the hijacking pilots had lived in Hamburg. `No doubt they will complain bitterly,' a German anti-terrorist official said yesterday. "Let us say we have different views on how to handle this problem."

Mounir Motassadeq (29), an alleged member of the Al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell based around hijack leader Mohamed Atta's apartment, has admitted attending a training camp in Afghanistan, signing Atta's will and transferring thousands of dollars to accounts controlled by Ramzi Binalshibh, one of the plot's main planners.

But an appeals court quashed his original conviction and 15-year sentence last April on the grounds that he should have had access to statements Binalshibh made to American interrogators after his capture in Pakistan.

Motassadeq claimed that Binalshibh's statements, which the Americans were refusing to make available, would have confirmed that he knew nothing of the 9/11 conspiracy.

The appeal judges said without testimony from Binalshibh or the plot's mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the case that Motassadeq was an active conspirator was weak. He faces a retrial, due to start next month.

A senior German intelligence official said that, while the U.S. Justice Department has now supplied the interrogation records, they would be virtually useless in their present state.

"They contain no details as to where Binalshibh and Mohamed were questioned, nor whether torture or other forms of force were used to make them talk," he said. "Their contents may be information and they may be disinformation."

After the recent publication of photographs of Iraqi prisoners being tortured at Abu Ghraib, and the admission by the U.S. administration that a range of coercive methods were authorised for interrogators in the war on terror, a German court would need firm evidence that the statements were truly voluntary, the official went on.

He said German authorities were now resigned to dropping the charge that Motassadeq was involved in 9/11, and would have to settle for trying to convict him of membership of a terrorist organisation, for which he is unlikely to be jailed for more than the two and a half years he served between his arrest and appeal. — Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

International

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2004, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu