Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A 9/11 Terrorist May Go Free

Mounir el Motassadeq, convicted in Germany of aiding the 9/11 highjackers, may go free.

Well, he already is kinda free. While his conviction is being challenged, he's been out of jail for the last six months. He lives at home with his wife and kids, walks over to the local mosque to pay his respects to Mohammed, the prophet of peace, and probably scarfs down homemade goat stew.

Here's Der Spiegel's summary of the current status of the case:

It's been undisputed for a while now that Motassadeq supported the Hamburg-based 9/11 terror cell. It just isn't clear how much he knew about their plans. The first verdict in Hamburg, condemning him to 15 years in jail for abetting the murder of more than 3,000 people and for "membership of a terrorist organization," was overturned by federal judges in March 2004. The reason was controversial: Statements that might have exonerated Motassadeq by Ramzi Binalshibh, a suspected accomplice in US custody, weren't released by US officials, and in their absence the court gave Motassadeq the benefit of the doubt.

In the second round before the Hamburg court, American officials did release summaries of the Binalshibh interrogations. His statement that Motassadeq was not a "member" of the terror cell, was assessed as a self-serving declaration by the new judges in Hamburg. They again found Motassadeq guilty of belonging to a "terrorist organization,"but no longer of abetting murder. Their reason: It was probable that Motassadeq was ignorant of "the dimensions of the attacks," in spite of his connections to the terrorists. ...

Motassadeq's lawyers want to overturn the entire verdict with an argument that seems rather cynical. Gerhard Strate, an appeals specialist in Hamburg who led the defense in getting the first verdict overturned, says the term "terrorist organization" implies plans for "a series of unrelated criminal acts" -- a contradiction, he argues, since anyone planning his own death could hardly commit further attacks.
That's an argument only one stupid enough to be an intellectual could make, if ever there was one! How anyone could reach so hard, could get their minds to chart a course through such troubling waters, is simply far, far beyond me.

I'd like to wrap up with a witty parallel; Strate's defense is like saying .... But I'm pretty much struck dumb. Help me out here -- can you make a parallel?

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics
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