- Title: GERMANY: Lawyers for friend of 9/11 hijackers seek halt to his sentence hearing
- Date: 6th January 2007
- Summary: (W3) HAMBURG, GERMANY (JANUARY 5, 2007) (REUTERS) LAWYERS REPRESENTING MOUNIR EL MOTASSADEQ ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE CAMERA CREWS FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (German) LADISLAV ANSIC, MOTASSADEQ'S LAWYER, SAYING: "We are dealing with an extraordinary court which has been formed exclusively for El Motassadeq. That's illegal, according to article 101 of our constitution. It says the creation of an extraordinary court is unconstitutional. The Hamburg court neglected to come up with a court in case the earlier verdict - the seven years - would be overruled. When that happened legal people were put together hastily, hastily. We are not allowed to know what the criteria were. I expressively asked the court and I was denied an answer. We believe the creation (of the court) was haphazard." REPORTER'S NOTEPAD CAMERAMAN FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (German) WALTER HEMBERGER, CHIEF PROSECUTOR, SAYING: "Regarding the criticism of how the court was put together I can tell you that in our view it came about according to the rules -- and I have the backing of the Constitutional Court. It is true, as the defence pointed out, that the court was only put together in November of last year but this is admissible, given the extraordinary situation in this case." CAMERA CREWS FILMING WIDE OF HEMBERGER SPEAKING
- Embargoed: 21st January 2007 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA5PXRQQ8QPWI3NJZMVQPC0OIQK
- Story Text: Next week, a German court will sentence a Moroccan friend of the Sept. 11 hijackers who was found guilty last year of being an accessory to mass murder, the court said on Friday (January 5).
Mounir El Motassadeq, a member of a group of radical Arab students in Hamburg who organised the 2001 attacks in which nearly 3,000 people died, faces up to 15 years in prison.
Germany's top appeals court in Karlsruhe had in November found Motassadeq guilty of abetting the murder of 246 passengers and crew who died on four planes that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Lawyers for the Moroccan had demanded the suspension of the first hearing in Hamburg on Friday, at which Motassadeq was present. His lawyer accused the court of being unconstitutional because it was set up specifically for the hearing.
"We are dealing with an extraordinary court which has been formed exclusively for El Motassadeq," said Ladislav Anisic, Motassadeq's lawyer.
Motassadeq, 32, is one of only two people convicted of involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The other is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a U.S. court in May 2006.
Last November's decision overturned a 2005 ruling which convicted him of belonging to a terrorist organisation while clearing him of abetting mass murder. Motassadeq's lawyers insist he knew nothing about the plot to fly hijacked planes into the New York and Washington targets.
Prosecution lawyer Walter Hemberger rejected the arguments presented by Motassadeq's lawyers, saying the court had been set up to deal with the case swiftly as other courts were busy.
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