BERLIN, (Reuters) – Germany’s highest court rejected on Friday an appeal by a Moroccan friend of the Sept. 11 hijackers who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for being an accessory to mass murder.
The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said in a statement there was nothing unconstitutional about a November appeals court ruling convicting Mounir El Motassadeq in relation to the 2001 hijacked plane attacks in the United States.
The appeal was unrelated to a separate complaint filed by Motassadeq’s lawyers contesting the 15-year sentence he received from a Hamburg court on Monday.
In handing down that sentence, the court backed the November decision by the appeals court, which found the 32-year old Motassadeq guilty of abetting the murder of 246 passengers and crew who died on four planes that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Motassadeq was a member of a group of radical Arab students in Hamburg, led by Mohammed Atta, which helped organise the 2001 attacks.
It is unclear when there will be a decision on Motassadeq’s outstanding appeal of his sentence.
The complex and drawn-out case has strained Berlin’s relations with Washington as German courts tested how far the United States would go in giving sensitive evidence.
Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent who received a life sentence from a U.S. court in May 2006, is the only other person convicted of links to the attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people.