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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 12:04 GMT
Yemeni suspects face trial in US
The Frankfurt airport Sheraton Hotel
Both suspects were arrested at a hotel near Frankfurt airport
Germany has extradited two Yemenis to the United States on charges that they supported the al-Qaeda network.

The two men were handed over to the US authorities on Sunday and flown to New York, German prosecutors said.

The move came after Germany's highest court ruled last week that the men could expect a fair trial in the US.

The US accuses Yemeni cleric Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad and his alleged assistant, Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed, of raising funds for al-Qaeda.

However, Washington has not linked them directly with the 11 September 2001 attacks.

They were arrested in January in a sting operation at a Frankfurt hotel following a request by the US.

After the Constitutional Court rejected their appeal against extradition, the German Government decided to send them to the United States.

"It was the end of the fighting," Hildegard Becker-Toussaint, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, said.

"The court made its decision and then the government extradited them."

'Finance chief'

Mr Moayad is a leading member of Yemen's Reform party and is the imam of the main mosque in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

He is alleged to have been a finance chief for Osama Bin Laden and for the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) accuses him of having given Bin Laden $20m.

In its ruling to allow extradition, the Constitutional Court said the US had given Germany assurances that the suspects would not face a military court or any other special tribunal.

They are expected to be tried in a regular criminal court.

If convicted, Mr Moayad faces up to 60 years in jail, while Mr Zayed could be imprisoned for up to 30 years, US officials have said.

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