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German Court Convicts Man Connected to Sept. 11

A German appeals court finds Mounir El Motassadeq guilty of being an accessory to mass murder. Motassadeq was a friend of some of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers when they lived in Hamburg, Germany, including the apparent ringleader, Mohamed Atta.

Motassadeq is one of only a few people worldwide who have been tried for involvement with the attacks.

The fate of Motassadeq has changed frequently since he was first arrested in Hamburg soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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Three years ago, he was first found guilty of knowingly helping the hijackers plan to commit mass murder. Then, Germany's appeals court ordered a re-trial. That second trial ended with a verdict of guilty -- but only of belonging to a terrorist organization. Both sides appealed the decision.

Thursday, the federal appeals court decided Motassadeq is, in fact, guilty of assisting in the hijackers' plans to kill. The ruling means that he could now face up to 15 years in prison.

The appeals court ruled that Motassadeq knew his friends were planning to hijack and crash planes in the United States. The court found him guilty of aiding in the murder of 246 people -- the passengers and crew on the four planes.

But the judges decided he was not aware of the plans to fly the planes into buildings, and kill thousands.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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