BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has deported a Moroccan associate of the Sept. 11 hijackers after he served most of a 15-year jail term for helping organise the 2001 attacks on U.S. targets, authorities said on Monday.
Mounir El Motassadeq was a member of a group of radical Islamists based in the northern German city of Hamburg who helped bring about the suicide attacks with hijacked airliners that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Handed the maximum sentence of 15 years in 2007 for being an accessory to mass murder, Motassadeq is one of only two men convicted to date of involvement in the plot.
“It’s good to know that Mr. Motassadeq is now out of the country so we can close this chapter for Hamburg,” State Interior Minister Andy Grote said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.
Photographs showed a man with covered eyes being led by two armed policemen to a helicopter. German media had reported that Motassadeq was taken to Frankfurt to be deported to Morocco, where his family lives.
At his 2007 trial, his lawyers argued that Motassadeq knew nothing about the Sept. 11 plot. But prosecutors said he played a central role in suicide hijacker Mohammed Atta’s group by running the financial affairs of some cell members.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Stamp