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February 7, 2006
German Revolving-Door Justice Strikes Again

The Germans seem to have a problem in keeping terrorists behind bars. For the second time in as many months, Germany has freed a convicted terrorist, this time a man connected to the 9/11 attacks. Mounir el Motassadeq will walk out of prison for the second time, freed by German appellate courts:

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ordered the 31-year-old Moroccan released from prison where he had been serving a seven-year sentence following a conviction by a Hamburg court. Carsten Grote, a Hamburg judicial spokesman, did not give a reason for the release and did not indicate when Motassadeq would be let free.

Authorities have long suspected Motassadeq of having belonged to the Hamburg terror cell led by Mohammed Atta. He arrived in Germany in 1993 and learned German in the university town of Münster before attending a technical university in Hamburg and eventually getting a job at the same school. He admits that he knew Atta in Hamburg but insists he knew nothing of his planned attack until seeing the events of 9/11 unfold.

Motassadeq got sprung the first time because the US refused to extradite Ramzi Binalshibh for courtroom testimony. American authorities send extensive documentation of Binalshibh's interrogation for Motassadeq's second trial, but he only got convicted of membership in a terror group -- and only got seven years for that crime. No one knows why the German court ordered him freed at this point, but he has only served a year of his sentence.

After watching the murderer of Navy diver Robert Stethem walk free earlier, we should have become used to German indifference to terrorism, but after watching them work so hard to free a convicted al-Qaeda member, it still proves shocking. Obviously relying on European law enforcement as an ally in the fight against Islamofascist terror will get us nowhere.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 7, 2006 1:02 PM

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