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Berlin to expel 9/11 accomplice to Morocco: reports

Mounir el Motassadeq was sentenced in January 2007 to 15 years in jail [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 October, 2018

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Mounir el Motassadeq, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for his role in the death of 246 people in the September 11 attacks, will be sent to Morocco.

Germany will expel a convicted Moroccan accomplice in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, media reported on Monday.

Mounir el Motassadeq, who was sentenced in January 2007 by a German court to 15 years in jail for his role in the death of 246 passengers and crew aboard hijacked aircraft used in the September 11 attacks, will be sent to his native Morocco.

He was the first person ever convicted for complicity in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

The Moroccan was flown at midday Monday by helicopter from the Hamburg jail where he has been serving his prison term to Frankfurt, according to Spiegel Online and Bild daily.

Photographs carried by national news agency DPA showed Motassadeq, dressed in a checked shirt and beige trousers, being led blindfolded and handcuffed by two police officers to a waiting chopper.

He has admitted to having links to the hijackers, but he maintained his innocence in a five-year court battle.

The Moroccan was friends with members of a Hamburg-based cell including their leader Mohammed Atta, and helped to cover up their whereabouts while they were taking flying lessons in the United States and handled a bank transfer for them.

In 2003, the relatives of the 9/11 victims submitted a complaint that claims Saudi government officials and diplomats had a direct hand in the attacks in Washington and New York, along with another hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. They say Saudi Arabia provided support to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden

The report submitted alleged that two Saudis were paid by the embassy in Washington to carry out "a dry-run for the 9/11 attacks" two years before the actual hijackings took place.

The flight tickets used in the dry-run were allegedly paid for by the Saudi embassy, as families of the 1,400 killed in the 9/11 attacks try to find alleged links between Riyadh and the al-Qaeda militants.

The report said the men were living undercover in the US as students, when they were asked by embassy staff to simulate a hijacking of an airliner and test cockpit security.

This was the same tactic used by the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers - 15 of whom were Saudi nationals - when they flew two planes into the World Trade Center towers and another into the Pentagon.

In April, the relatives of 9/11 victims, who are seeking to hold Saudi Arabia legally responsible in the deadly attacks, said they intend to step up pressure on US security agencies to turn over more investigative records.

Brett Eagleson, whose father was killed in the twin towers attack in 2001, told a news conference that the plaintiffs plan a grassroots effort to compel the CIA, the FBI and others to turn over information that could shed light on potential Saudi complicity.

"The 9/11 families aren't going anywhere," said Eagleson, 32, of Middletown, Connecticut. "We had my dad's grandchildren in the audience today who want to know the truth about what happened to their grandfather."

In late September 2016 US Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), allowing survivors and relatives of victims of "terrorism" to sue foreign governments.

Saudi Arabia has persistently denied involvement in the attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead.

Last month, a federal court judge rejected a Saudi motion to end the lawsuit, ruling that the court could assume jurisdiction under JASTA.

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