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9/11 suspect applies for prison release

Published on 09/03/2004

9 March 2004

HAMBURG – A 9/11 suspect whose conviction for aiding the Hamburg-based terrorist cell was overturned last week has applied to be released from prison pending a retrial, a court spokeswoman said Tuesday.

A lawyer for Mounir al-Motassadeq has made a request for the Moroccan’s release and asked the court to set a date to hear the defence application, Hamburg state court spokeswoman Sabine Westphalen said.

She said the court had informed federal chief prosecutor Kay Nehm of the request on Tuesday and asked for a statement from him.

Motassadeq’s lawyer, Josef Graessle-Muenscher, said: “If everything goes well, Mr Motassadeq will be free in two to three weeks.”

Motassadeq, the only person ever convicted of a role in the 11 September 2001 suicide attacks, gained the right to a new trial under a ruling Thursday by the Federal Supreme Court.

He had received a 15-year prison term in February 2003 for being an accessory to the murder of more than 3,000 people in the attacks.

The supreme court judges overturned the conviction, saying evidence from a witness that might have helped the defence had not been heard.

The witness, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni who has reportedly confessed to a central role in the plot, has been held by the United States since his capture in Karachi, Pakistan in September 2002.

Subject: German news