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EDITIONS
Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Charges against Mounir al-Motassadek

The German Public Prosecutor General has charged the 28-year-old Moroccan Mounir al-Motassadek with membership of a terrorist association, and aiding and abetting murder in more than 3,000 cases. The text of the indictment sets out the following main accusations:

"The terrorist operations in the United States of America on 11 September 2001 were the doing of an international network of Islamic fundamentalists, largely controlled by the Muslim-fundamentalist al-Qaeda organization, that condones violence. The purpose of their cooperation was to unleash "Holy War" (jihad) in countries belonging to the Western world, in particular the United States of America.

"Militant rejection of Western society and its values, and the defence of the Muslim world against non-Muslims also through terrorist action provided the common ground for the activities.

The Hamburg connection

"As a part of that network, a Hamburg-based autonomous cell, cut off from the outside world, conspired in the planning, preparation, and implementation of the attacks. Members of that Hamburg cell were the assassins:

  • Mohamed Attar
  • Marwan al-Shehhi
  • Ziyad Jarrah

    who died during the attacks, and the fugitive

  • Said Bahaji
  • Ramzi Binalshibh
  • Zakariya Essabar

    who are being prosecuted separately, as well as the accused.


    In October 1999 at the latest, the members of the association led by Ata decided to take an active part in the jihad by carrying out terror attacks against America and killing as many people as possible

    "The cell in Hamburg was set up no later than summer 1999. The Islamist-fundamentalist views of the members of the association were increasingly dominated by an aggressive, radically anti-American and anti-Jewish attitude.

    In October 1999 at the latest, the members of the association led by Ata decided to take an active part in the jihad by carrying out terror attacks against America and killing as many people as possible.

    Training with Al-Qaeda

    "In order to prepare the operation, Atta, al-Shehhi, Jarrah, and Binalshibh were the first to travel to Afghanistan in late November 1999.

    The purpose of the stay was to prepare details of the attacks and their logistic support together with the responsible leaders of the international network

    The second group followed in spring 2000. The accused stayed in Afghanistan between late May 2000 and early August 2000. The members of the group headed for training camps predominately run by al-Qaeda.

    "In addition to ideological and military training, the purpose of the stay was to prepare details of the attacks and their logistic support together with the responsible leaders of the international network.

    Travel to the US

    "Immediately after the return of the first group, Ata, al-Shehhi, and Jarrah, who had been appointed as pilots of the attacking aircraft, travelled to the United States. Ata and al-Shehhi completed their training as professional pilots together at a flying school in Venice, Florida, until December 2001.

    "In mid-January 2001, Jarrah acquired a private pilot license at another school also based in Venice, Florida, in mid-January 2001. The plan to have Binalshibh and Essabar also train as pilots failed. Their visa applications were rejected by the United States.

    The final preparations

    "After flying lessons were completed, details of the attacks were coordinated -- among other places at meetings in Spain -- between Afghanistan, the members of the association who had stayed in Hamburg, and the attackers who had travelled to the United States.

    "The accused, just as the other members of the cell who had stayed in Hamburg, had been part of the preparatory works for the onslaught to the very end.
    Motassadek charges
    Acted as "governor" of Hamburg cell
    Covered up absences
    Played major funding role
    Withdrew cash for terror

    "He knew the objectives of the association, which were the carrying out of terror attacks, and supported the planning and preparatory process by numerous activities: In the absence of the other members of the group, he together with Bahaji acted as "governor" of the terrorist cell in Hamburg.

    "In this function, he regularly covered up the whereabouts of the absent members and looked after the personal matters of the absent al-Shehhi. He played a major role in the funding of terrorist activities of the association.

    Cash for terrorist activities

    "He had a mandate for the account of al-Shehhi in Hamburg and also held the electronic cash card of al-Shehhi's account.

    Cash was withdrawn .. to pay for the flying lessons they intended to take in the United States

    This account served as source for the Hamburg cell to fund its terrorist activities. From Germany, the accused had to provide the members of the association with money required to carry out the attacks.

    "While he had the power to draw from the account, cash was withdrawn and transfers made to members of the association on numerous occasions. This also included remittances to Binalshibh and Essabar to pay for the flying lessons they intended to take in the United States.

    Arrest

    "The accused was arrested in Hamburg on 28 November 2001 and has been in pre-trial detention since then. The other members of the group, Bahaji, Essabar, and Binalshibh, had left Hamburg prior to the 11 September attacks. They continue to be sought under an arrest warrant.

    "The investigations have not brought to light any indication that the other 16 assassins involved in the terrorist attacks on the United States were directed by the Hamburg cell."

    BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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