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Germany

Verdict Due in Sept. 11 Retrial

A German court will deliver its verdict Friday in the retrial of the only man ever convicted in relation to the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. It will be the end of a lengthy, costly legal odyssey that could end in an acquittal. Mounir el Motassadeq of Morocco was the first man to go on trial over the atrocities in New York and Washington that killed more than 3,000 people and was sentenced to the maximum 15 years in prison in February 2003. But a German federal tribunal overturned the verdict last year and sent the case back to the court in the northern city of Hamburg, where three of the 19 suicide hijackers lived and studied for several years. Motassadeq's attorney Ladislav Anisic said there was no evidence that directly linked his client to the plot and argued that Motassadeq was being tried simply on guilt by association. German observers say the prosecution's case has been weakened by the failure of the United States to hand over more information on two top al Qaeda operatives in its custody.

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