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Profile: Mounir El Motassadeq

 
  

Positions that Mounir El Motassadeq has held:



 

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Mounir El Motassadeq actively participated in the following events:

 
  

August 1998: Germany Investigates Hamburg al-Qaeda Cell Member      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mounir El Motassadeq.
A German inquiry into Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell with Mohamed Atta, begins by this time. Although Germany will not reveal details, documents show that by August 1998, Motassadeq is under surveillance. “The trail soon [leads] to most of the main [Hamburg] participants” in 9/11. Surveillance records Motassadeq and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who had already been identified by police as a suspected extremist, as they meet at the Hamburg home of Said Bahaji, who is also under surveillance that same year. (Bahaji will soon move into an apartment with Atta and other al-Qaeda members.) German police monitor several other meetings between Motassadeq and Zammar in the following months. [New York Times, 1/18/03] Motassadeq is later convicted in August 2002 in Germany for participation in the 9/11 attacks, but his conviction is later overturned (see March 3, 2004).
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Mohamed Atta, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

November 1, 1998-February 2001: Atta and Other Islamic Militants Are Monitored by US and Germany in Hamburg Apartment      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Marienstrasse building.
Mohamed Atta and al-Qaeda operatives Said Bahaji and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh move into a four bedroom apartment at 54 Marienstrasse, in Hamburg, Germany, and stay there until February 2001 (Atta is already living primarily in the US well before this time). Investigators believe this move marks the formation of their Hamburg al-Qaeda cell [New York Times, 9/10/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/27/02] Up to six men at a time live at the apartment, including other al-Qaeda agents such as hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and cell member Zakariya Essabar. [New York Times, 9/15/01 (F)] During the 28 months Atta's name is on the apartment lease, 29 Middle Eastern or North African men register the apartment as their home address. From the very beginning, the apartment was officially under surveillance by German intelligence, because of investigations into businessman Mamoun Darkazanli that connect to Said Bahaji. [Washington Post, 10/23/01] The Germans also suspect connections between Bahaji and al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] German intelligence monitors the apartment off and on for months, and wiretaps Mounir El Motassadeq, an associate of the apartment-mates who is later put on trial in August 2002 for assisting the 9/11 plot, but apparently do not find any indication of suspicious activity. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] Bahaji is directly monitored at least for part of 1998, but German officials have not disclosed when the probe began or ended. That investigation is dropped for lack of evidence. [Associated Press, 6/22/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] It is now clear that investigators would have found evidence if they looked more thoroughly. For instance, Zammar, a talkative man who has trouble keeping secrets, is a frequent visitor to the many late night meetings there. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02; Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 259-60; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Another visitor later recalls Atta and others discussing attacking the US. [Knight Ridder, 9/9/02] 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is in Hamburg several times in 1999, and comes to the apartment. However, although there was a $2 million reward for Mohammed since 1998, the US apparently fails to tell Germany what it knows about him (see 1999). [Newsweek, 9/4/02; New York Times, 11/4/02] Hijacker Waleed Alshehri also apparently stays at the apartment “at times.” [Washington Post, 9/16/01 (B); Washington Post, 9/14/01] The CIA also starts monitoring Atta while he is living at this apartment, and does not tell Germany of the surveillance. Remarkably, the German government will claim it knew little about the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell before 9/11, and nothing directed them towards the Marienstrasse apartment. [Daily Telegraph, 11/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mamoun Darkazanli, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Germany, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Central Intelligence Agency, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Zakariya Essabar, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

May 22, 2000: German Intelligence Place Two Hijacker Associates on a German Watch List      Complete 911 Timeline

       By early 2000, German intelligence monitoring al-Qaeda suspect Mohammed Haydar Zammar notice that Mounir El Motassadeq and Said Bahaji, members of al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell with Mohamed Atta, regularly meet with Zammar. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] In March 2000, Germany's internal intelligence service had placed Motassadeq and Bahaji on a border patrol watch list. Their international arrivals and departures are to be reported immediately. On this day, Motassadeq flies to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there goes to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the border patrol only notes his destination of Istanbul. Bahaji does not travel, and when he finally does the week before 9/11, it isn't noted. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

August 29, 2002: Germany Charges Moroccan with Complicity in 9/11      Complete 911 Timeline

       German authorities charge Mounir El Motassadeq with complicity in the 9/11 attacks. He was arrested in Germany two months after 9/11. He is only the second person in the world to be charged with any crime related to the 9/11 attacks (after Zacarias Moussaoui). He is charged with helping finance Mohamed Atta and others in the Hamburg terrorist cell. [New York Times, 8/29/02; Agence France-Presse, 8/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Mounir El Motassadeq, Mohamed Atta, Germany
          

February 18, 2003: Al-Qaeda Member Convicted in Germany      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, is convicted in Germany of accessory to murder in the 9/11 attacks. His is given the maximum sentence of 15 years. [Associated Press, 2/19/03] Motassadeq admitted varying degrees of contact with Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Said Bahaji, Ziad Jarrah, and Zakariya Essabar; admitted he had been given power of attorney over Alshehhi's bank account; and admitted attending an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from May to August 2000; but he claimed he had nothing to do with 9/11. [New York Times, 10/24/02] The conviction is the first one related to 9/11, but as the Independent puts it, “there are doubts whether there will ever be a second.” This is because intelligence agencies have been reluctant to turn over evidence, or give access to requested witnesses. In Motassadeq's case, his lawyers tried several times unsuccessfully to obtain testimony by two of his friends, bin al-Shibh and Mohammed Haydar Zammar—a lack of evidence that will later become grounds for overturning his conviction. [Independent, 2/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mounir El Motassadeq, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Ziad Jarrah, Zakariya Essabar, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi
          

March 3, 2004: US Secrecy Leads to Overturning of Motassadeq Conviction      Complete 911 Timeline

       A German appeals court overturns the conviction of Mounir El Motassadeq after finding that German and US authorities withheld evidence. He had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for involvement in the 9/11 plot. According to the court, a key suspect in US custody, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, had not been allowed to testify. European commentators blame US secrecy, complaining that “the German justice system [is] suffering ‘from the weaknesses of the way America is dealing with 9/11,’ and ‘absolute secrecy leads absolutely certainly to flawed trials.’ ” [Agence France-Presse, 3/5/04] The court orders a new trial scheduled to begin later in the year. [Associated Press, 3/4/04] The release of Motassadeq (and the acquittal of Mzoudi earlier in the year) means that there is not a single person who has ever been successfully prosecuted for the events of 9/11.
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mounir El Motassadeq, Germany
          

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