BERLIN — A Moroccan man serving a 15-year prison sentence in Germany for helping three of the suicide pilots in the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. is seeking a new trial, officials said Friday.
A spokesman for federal prosecutors, Marcus Koehler, said the Hamburg court that sentenced Mounir el-Motassadeq has forwarded the Moroccan's application for the case to be reopened. Prosecutors will examine it and respond to the court, which will decide whether the case should be retried.
It wasn't immediately clear how long that decision might take. It is very rare for such requests to be granted in Germany.
El-Motassadeq was convicted in 2006 of being a member of a terrorist group and an accessory to the murder of the 246 passengers and crew on the four jetliners used in the attacks on New York and Washington. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the maximum penalty possible under German law. Germany's highest court refused in 2007 to consider his appeal.
El-Motassadeq's lawyer, Udo Jacob, said he has a new evidence casting doubt on the verdict, namely a statement from alleged 9/11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh, the suspected liaison between the three hijackers who lived in Hamburg and al-Qaida. Binalshibh is being held at Guantanamo Bay.
Jacob said Abdelghani Mzoudi, a fellow Moroccan who was acquitted of similar charges at a separate trial in Hamburg in 2004, also has agreed to testify – which he declined to do when el-Motassadeq was first tried.