FRANKFURT, Germany - A Moroccan man convicted of helping the Sept. 11 suicide
pilots will appeal his latest conviction to Germany's highest court, his lawyer
Mounir el Motassadeq already was sentenced to seven years in prison on a
conviction for membership in a terrorist organization. He was found guilty by an
appeals court Thursday of an additional 246 counts of accessory to murder.
The Federal Court of Justice ruled Motassadeq was aware that pilots Mohamed
Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah planned to hijack and crash planes. El
Motassadeq was a close friend of the three hijackers when they lived and studied
in Hamburg, Germany. He has acknowledged training at an al-Qaida camp in
Afghanistan but insists he knew nothing of their plans.
Judge Klaus Tolksdorf ruled that el Motassadeq had helped "watch the
attackers' backs and conceal them" by doing things such as helping them keep up
the appearance of being regular university students - paying tuition and
rent fees, and transferring money. Tolksdorf said it was irrelevant to el
Motassadeq's guilt whether he knew of the planned timing, dimension or targets
of the attacks.
The appeals court sent the case back to the original trial court in Hamburg
for revised sentencing. Motassadeq could see his prison term extended to 15
Attorney Ladislav Anisic said Sunday the 32-year-old will take his case to
the Federal Constitutional Court.
"So long as he is alive, our client wants to fight for people to believe
him," Anisic said in a telephone interview.
El Motassadeq has spent a total of about three years in prison.