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German Court Convicts 9/11 Defendant

19 August 2005 (RFE/RL) - A court in Hamburg, Germany, today convicted a Moroccan man suspected of helping the 11 September 2001 hijackers of membership of a terrorist organization.

The man, Mounir el Motassadeq, was sentenced to seven years in prison following a yearlong trial.

He is the first person convicted anywhere in connection with the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.

The 31-year-old Moroccan was charged with more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder, as well as with membership of a terrorist organization over his links to the Al-Qaeda cell in Hamburg that included Mohamed Atta and two other hijackers.

Prosecutors had sought a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

El Motassadeq originally was convicted in 2003 on the same charges and given the maximum sentence. But an appeals court overturned the conviction, ruling that he was unfairly denied testimony from key Al-Qaeda suspects in U.S. custody.

(compiled from agency reports)