Germany prosecutors said they were confident of a successful appeal against the acquittal of a Moroccan student charged over the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and urged US authorities to release key evidence.
Chief federal prosecutor Kay Nehm said the evidence presented to the court in Hamburg, northern Germany, justified a conviction over the 2001 suicide strikes.
“We were lucky that we were able to obtain so much information from such a closed-off world,” he said, referring to international terrorism.
“Of course I am counting on it (the verdict) being overturned.”
His comments came after 31-year-old Abdelghani Mzoudi was acquitted by the court in Hamburg, northern Germany, of accessory to murder on more than 3000 counts and membership in a terrorist organisation.
Federal prosecutor Walter Hemberger, who led the case against Mzoudi, said there were “numerous grounds” to believe that he was involved in plotting the suicide plane strikes in New York and Washington.
“We are convinced that the accused was guilty,” he told a press conference after the verdict. “We will therefore lodge an appeal.”
He said he would await the court’s written judgment before establishing the exact grounds for an appeal. Presiding judge Klaus Ruehle said the court had decided on its verdict not “because it was convinced of the innocence of the accused, but because there was not enough evidence for a conviction”.
Nehm said he hoped Mzoudi’s acquittal would lead to a shift in attitude by US authorities, who have rejected repeated requests to allow evidence from a key suspect in their custody to be used.
The suspect is Ramzi Binalshibh, allegedly a senior al-Qaeda operative, who moved in the same Hamburg circles as Mzoudi.
Binalshibh is reported to have claimed that Mzoudi was not involved in the September 11 plot. Prosecutors wanted to rebut that claim and to question him in detail about the so-called Hamburg cell.