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Germany's Highest Court Rejects Appeal of Convicted 9/11 Accomplice


Germany's highest court has refused to hear an appeal to overturn the conviction of a Moroccan friend of the September 11, 2001 hijackers who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison as an accessory to mass murder.

The Federal Constitutional Court Friday denied Mounir el-Motassadeq's appeal. His lawyers were prepared to argue that his conviction was not constitutional. Another appeal before Germany's federal appeals court is pending.

Motassadeq's attorneys say they also might take his case before the European Court of Justice.

An appeals court in Hamburg Monday sentenced Motassadeq to the maximum penalty of 15 years after overturning his earlier acquittal.

Motassadeq denies he was aware that hijacker Mohamed Atta and other associates were planning attacks.

The 32-year-old Moroccan national was found to have made bank transfers for the hijackers, and he helped them hide their identities in Hamburg as they planned the attacks on the United States posing as university students.

A German court originally had convicted Motassadeq in 2003 of membership in a terrorist organization and of being an accessory to murder.

However, an appeals court later threw out the accessory to murder charge, noting that the U.S. government had withheld information relative to his defense.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States killed nearly 3,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.