Skip to comments.Germany: September 11 Accused Got Training in Iran - Defector
Posted on 01/30/2004 10:33:00 AM PST by knighthawk
HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - A Moroccan accused of helping the September 11 suicide hijackers received training in encryption techniques at an al Qaeda camp in Iran in 1997, an Iranian defector said on Friday.
But his testimony to a German court was promptly undercut by comments from Germany's intelligence services, who questioned his credibility and said his evidence was worth very little.
Hamid Reza Zakeri, the cover name of a man who says he worked in Iranian intelligence and defected in 2001, was testifying toward the end of Germany's second major trial of suspected members of al Qaeda's Hamburg cell.
He told the court that the defendant, Abdelghani Mzoudi -- suspected of handling money for the September 11 plotters and covering up for them -- had spent three months in Iran learning to master codes and was an integral part of the conspiracy.
It was not immediately clear how the alleged training was linked to the plot.
Mzoudi, 31, had been expected to be cleared of aiding and abetting the murder of several thousand people and being a member of a terrorist organization until the testimony from Zakeri surfaced last week.
The verdict is now expected next Thursday.
In evidence heard last week from police interviews, Zakeri had said Iran's secret service had contact with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network ahead of the September 11 attacks.
He also told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that bin Laden's son had personally forewarned Iranian leaders of the planned attacks on U.S. cities, because al Qaeda wanted Tehran's help in sheltering its members afterwards.
Zakeri, a tall, bearded man with thick hair and glasses, told the court on Friday much of his information came from a high-ranking source in Iran with whom he remained in contact. He acknowledged he had neither met nor seen Mzoudi personally.
As recently as December, he said, al Qaeda military chief Saif al-Adel and Iranian officials met, concerned about Mzoudi's release from custody last month. They believed it was part of a CIA ploy to lead the U.S. agency to al Qaeda figures.
"They came to the conclusion that Mzoudi would have to be killed by a letter bomb sent from Duesseldorf or Vienna, or if he was deported, that he could then be seized," Zakeri said.
It was not clear that his sometimes rambling testimony had helped the prosecution case.
"It's difficult to follow you, Mr Zakeri," judge Klaus Ruehle said at one point during over three hours of questioning.
Ruehle later read out statements from Germany's intelligence services who had been asked to assess Zakeri's credibility.
"The worth of his evidence is very small. Much is unverifiable and speculative," the BND foreign intelligence agency said.
His trial is only the second anywhere of a September 11 suspect. His friend and fellow-Moroccan Mounir El Motassadeq was sentenced to 15 years by the same Hamburg court last February, but is awaiting a ruling on an appeal.
And I would believe them because...? Look how credible the Germans were on Saddam Hussein. How many benefited from Saddam's bribes?
If this is credible, then the Iranian raghead leaders will have hell to pay.
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