Skip to comments.Germany: Man Who Knew 9/11 Hijacker Blasts Bush
Posted on 06/21/2002 6:18:59 PM PDT by knighthawk
BERLIN- A Syrian-born businessman who knew Sept. 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and has been accused of operating an al-Qaida front lashed out at President Bush on Thursday and denied any connection to terrorism.
Mamoun Darkazanli, described by the FBI as a well-connected agent of Osama bin Laden, was questioned by German police shortly after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But he was freed for lack of evidence and continues to live in Hamburg, Germany, where Atta and two other hijackers had lived.
Speaking to The Associated Press in a telephone interview, Darkazanli bristled when asked about connections to a number of al-Qaida suspects and accused Bush of making unproven allegations.
"I personally don't think they are terrorists. There must be an international court for these people to be proven guilty," Darkazanli said. "Bush is not the judge of all of humanity."
Darkazanli, one of the first people to appear on U.S. suspect lists, has denied any links to bin Laden or the Sept. 11 attacks.
The U.S. Treasury Department ordered a freeze of his personal assets and those held by his import-export company.
German officials followed suit and placed him under formal investigation but say they do not have enough evidence to detain him.
"The German authorities hold nothing against me, and no one else holds anything against me," Darkazanli said. "The law in Germany works well."
Darkazanli has said previously that he attended the wedding of Said Bihaji, one of the three men sought by German authorities for alleged links to the Hamburg cell involved in Sept. 11. Also at the wedding was Atta, believed to have been the ringleader of the attacks, and Ziad Jarrah, who was aboard United Airlines flight 93 which crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
Darkazanli refused to discuss his relationship with Atta on Thursday.
Spanish authorities have alleged that Darkazanli knew Imad Yarkas, the suspected leader of a cell which recruited for al-Qaida. The Syrian-born Yarkas was arrested in Spain in November and became the first person charged overseas in connection with Sept. 11.
Darkazanli first caught the attention of German investigators in 1998 when they learned he had power of attorney over a German bank account opened by bin Laden's suspected financial chief, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim. But Darkazanli said the account access was for a business deal that fell through and that he never heard from Salim again.
Darkazanli is not the only Syrian-born suspect connected to the Sept. 11 investigation whom German officials are interested in finding.
A government official in Berlin said Thursday that Germany has asked the United States to help explain how Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who reportedly recruited Atta while they both lived in Hamburg, ended up in custody in his native Syria.
German investigators say they questioned Zammar immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks but let him go for lack of evidence. He then left Germany and was arrested in Morocco under unclear circumstances. A German intelligence official said this week that the Moroccans later sent him to Syria, where he remains in custody.
The German Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it had asked Syria about the case and was told that no German was in custody there. U.S. authorities reportedly knew about the arrest but didn't tell Germany.
"We have taken up the case with the Americans and asked for an explanation in the case," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Zammar was in Hamburg with Atta and other members of Atta's cell, including Jarrah and hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi.
Associated Press Writer Sarah el Deeb in Cairo contributed to this report.
Boy doesn't that just say it all...
Right. There is a Burning Bush that will take care of that.
Quote of the day.
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