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Germany

Al Qaeda Suspect Seeks Release

Lawyers for a suspected senior al Qaeda member, Mamoun Darkazanli, said Saturday they were seeking his release after Germany's highest court overturned an extradition order which would have seen him sent to Spain for trial. The constitutional court had accepted Wednesday a last-minute appeal by Darkazanli's lawyers after a lower court in Hamburg had ruled that he could be handed over to Spain. The 46-year-old German-Syrian national was arrested in northern Germany in mid-October and is accused of having provided the al Qaeda terror network with logistical and financial support in Britain, Germany and Spain since 1997. He is also alleged to have had ties to the three Hamburg-based men who hijacked the planes in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. He was questioned briefly in Germany and released after the attacks. But Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzon indicted him in September last year for his alleged connections to al Qaeda, and has requested his extradition. The constitutional court's decision suspends the extradition for up to six months, and defense lawyer Gül Pinar said her client, who was arrested in October, should no longer be held in custody.