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Germany

Interior Minister Tried to Hinder Release of Sep. 11 Terror Suspect

German Interior Minister Otto Schily tried to prevent the release of Sep. 11 terror suspect, Moroccan Abdelghani Mzoudi, by a Hamburg court, according to German news magazine Spiegel on Saturday. The magazine reported that Schily had told U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft during a meeting in the U.S. in early December the German government feared the Hamburg court would overestimate the statements of Ramzi Binalshibh, chief planner of the Sep. 11 attacks and currently in U.S. custody. Mzoudi, charged with aiding the Hamburg-based al Qaeda cell, was surprisingly let off by the Hamburg court on Dec. 11 after German federal investigators presented a statement quoting an unidentified informant as saying Mzoudi was not involved in the Sep. 11 plot. The informant is widely believed to be Binalshibh. However German investigators believe that Binalshibh has already made different statements on the make-up of the Hamburg terror cell, according to the news magazine. These statements are believed to be in U.S. possession, but so far Washington has refused to hand over the documents.