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Germany

Trial Witness Exonerates Terror Suspect

While saying that Mounir el Motassadeq introduced him to Sept. 11 suicide pilot Mohammed Atta, a trial witness on Wednesday rejected claims that the defendant had any knowledge of the terror attacks.

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Motassadeq on his way to court

"I believe that Mounir didn't have anything to do with the World Trade Center," Ahmed Maglad, a 30-year-old student from Sudan, testified during Motassadeq's retrial.

According to AP news agency, Maglad also said he "took back" a statement to police that Motassadeq seemed to have reached a new "religious level" and added that he remembered "nothing notable" about conversations he had with the defendant.

He gave a friendly wave to el Motassadeq, 30, as he left the courtroom and the defendant replied with a nod, according to AP.

Maglad also testified that Motassadeq introduced him to Atta in Hamburg in 1997. He said the alleged leader of the Sept. 11 attacks was "aggressively religious" and was always trying to "prove something."

The group around Atta also raged against the US "because it defends Israel," Maglad testified. He added that Atta eventually became "too much" for him, causing him to move to Berlin in 1998.

But he portrayed el Motassadeq as firmly allied with Atta, according to AP.

"Mounir and Atta didn't have any quarrels and Mounir once suggested when I was of a different opinion that I should be quiet," Maglad said. In 2003, Motassadeq was sentenced to 15 years for aiding the Sept. 11 terrorists. He was released from prison in April after a German appeals court overruled that conviction and ordered a retrial.

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