Moroccan 9/11 Accomplice to Receive Premature Release

Mounir el-Motassadeq- Getty Images

Rabat – Germany has granted early release to Mounir El Motassadeq, a Moroccan accomplice in the 9/11 attack, after he served 15 years in jail.

Mounir El Motassadeq, 44, was arrested for the first time in November 2002 in Germany for aiding the 9/11 attacks in the US.

Motassadeq will be released on October 15 and immediately deported to his home country, Morocco, German news outlet Bild reported Thursday, July 9.

Bild said that Motassadeq’s prison term was supposed to end in January 2019.

Speaking on the release, Frauke Kohler, a spokesperson from the Federal Prosecutors Office, told DW, “This measure will allow us to arrest him immediately should he set foot on German soil again.”

Motassadeq has been in Hamburg prison in Germany for almost 15 years.

He was convicted of being a member of a terrorist organization and for being an accessory to murder in the horrific attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001.

The German Federal Court of Justice had previously rejected Motassadeq’s request for a premature release in 2014. The court considered him to be too dangerous at that time. According to DE News, Motassadeq behaved well in prison, but “he had not moved away from his Islamist jihadist attitude.”

Motassadeq’s several trials

Motassadeq’s trial was a multi-year legal process.

According to BBC, Motassadeq came under suspicion in November 2001 when German police realized that he had power of attorney over Marwan al-Shehhi’s bank account. Shehhi was the one who flew the second plane into the World Trade Center.

In February 2003, Motassadeq was first sentenced to 15 years in prison for being an accessory to the 9/11 plot, but the court quashed the decision in March 2004.

Several lawsuits followed until Motassadeq received 15 years of imprisonment in January 2007, and he has been in Hamburg prison since May 2007.

Motassadeq went to Germany in 1993. Two years later, he moved to Hamburg to study electrical engineering in Hamburg University where he met Mohammed Atta-whom Bin Laden chose to lead the terrorist group attacking the US, according to a report by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

Prosecutors said Motassadeq “maintained intensive contacts over several years” with Atta, Shehhi, and other 9/11 plotters, BBC reported.

Motassadeq worked as a cleaner at Hamburg Airport between 1996 and 1998. A security check allowed him to work in secure areas and aircraft in the airport.

Motassadeq is married and has two children.