BERLIN (AP) – A Moroccan convicted of belonging to a terrorist cell that included three Sept. 11 hijackers will be deported even if he is acquitted on appeal, a German official said Wednesday.
Mounir el Motassadeq was released from custody in the northern city of Hamburg on Tuesday pending the outcome of appeals against his conviction and seven-year jail sentence after a ruling by Germany’s supreme court.
Udo Nagel, the city’s top security official, said he accepted the ruling, but reiterated that a 2004 decision to deport el Motassadeq if he is ultimately found not guilty remained valid.
“The law is the same for all, even terror suspects. But I emphasize: the deportation order is untouched by the latest decision,” Nagel said. “He is an Islamist and dangerous for our democracy.”
A Hamburg court convicted el Motassadeq of membership in a terrorist organization in August. It is unclear when a federal court will rule on appeals from both prosecutors and the defense.
El Motassadeq has been set free on condition that stays in Germany, surrenders his passport and reports regularly to police.
Last year, Abdelghani Mzoudi, a friend of el Motassadeq who was acquitted of identical charges in a separate trial, returned to his native Morocco after being ordered to leave.
Nagel said Hamburg authorities had forced ten foreign Islamists to leave the city since 2003.