Skip to comments.Germany Delays 9/11 Verdict, New Witness Found
Posted on 01/21/2004 9:18:50 AM PST by knighthawk
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court postponed on Wednesday the verdict on a Moroccan accused of aiding the Sept. 11 attackers after prosecutors said they had found a new witness, casting doubt on his expected acquittal.
The Hamburg court where Abdelghani Mzoudi is on trial said that the verdict would not now be issued Thursday as expected after a request from prosecutors to hear evidence from two police officials about a new witness.
"Federal prosecutors sent to the court today a substantial transcript dated January 19 regarding the questioning of a witness whose reliability is guaranteed and who would incriminate the accused Mzoudi," the court said in a statement.
Mzoudi, 31, had been expected to be cleared of the charge of several thousand counts of aiding and abetting murder and membership of a terrorist organization after he was released from custody in a surprise move last month.
His release came after German investigators informed the court of secret testimony which the trial judge presumed to have come from key al Qaeda figure Ramzi bin al-Shaibah who is now in U.S. custody.
That testimony suggested the Moroccan did not belong to the core group of plotters based in Hamburg -- an al Qaeda cell said to have been instrumental in the 2001 attacks on America.
The United States has shared details of bin al-Shaibah's testimony with Germany, but has been unwilling to allow it be released to a court.
Independent lawyers had said it appeared very likely that Mzoudi, whose trial has continued, would be acquitted.
However, prosecutors are now seeking a 30-day break for judges to assess the credibility of the new witness. The court will hear new information from two police officers and a federal prosecutor Thursday. Neither the court nor defense lawyers gave any details about the new witness.
Mzoudi's trial is only the second of a suspected Sept. 11 plotter. Last year the same court sentenced another Moroccan, Mounir El Motassadeq, to 15 years in jail on similar charges.
His lawyers were expecting to hear the results of an appeal, which could lead to a retrial, next week. They say that the new evidence that led to Mzoudi's release should lead to a review of Motassadeq's conviction.
U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft and lawyers representing the relatives of September 11 victims have described the freeing of Mzoudi as disappointing.
I also keep forgetting the "Die Welt" link requires a login. Registration is free, you do have to enter a valid e-mail address for verification, though.
I managed to find a report "Spiegel" took from AP about Zakeri's testimony today.
It appears to have been a complete joke. He showed up with beard, sunglasses and beard, repeated all the things that we've reported about thus far, but had zero, if not negative impact.
The judge couldn't understand a word he said, none of his sources were concrete, all hearsay, and no statements could be verified and were classified as speculative.
One sentance in the report said Zakeri maintains he had contacts with many western intelligence services, but became insulted and broke off contact when money was offered. He also knew everything about anything anybody wanted to know when it would have created an advantage for him personally, according to the report.
As the title of the link says, this one backfired.
Mzoudi will walk, verdict is next week.
Here's the link in German, I can't translate it now.