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these poor countries where people must face a trial and which don´t have prissons like Guantanamo where they can hold suspected people forever.
The most shamefull thing are these independant courts which don´t just follow rules like these well organized and good military courts in the US.

Note from David: please check this article. I guess the real difference is that German courts are afraid of terrorists, and U.S. military courts are not.

"I guess the real difference is that German courts are afraid of terrorists, and U.S. military courts are not"

two different independant german courts look at this case and came to the same result.
Note from David: No, they didn't. The BGH just had to check whether the lower court's reasoning was acceptable. There was no independent investigation of the case by the BGH. This is not the BGH's job.

So if you have any evidence that these judges didn´t have feel free to post here or sent it to the Bundesanwaltschaft.
Note from David: Again, check the statement by Kai Nehm I linked to above.

the real difference is that military courts are not independant. You can not compare a military justice with a civilian and there are good resons why germany has no military courts. by the way these prisoners in Guantanamo havn´t had the doughtfull luck of a military trial until now. There are no trials at all for these Guantanamo people they were just hold there until who knows until which day.
Note from David: In Germany terrorists are treated as criminals while the US considers them as prisoners according to the "laws of war, and the laws of war allow one to be detained without moving into a legal process." Also, the US wouldn't want to set terrorists free out of fear of new attacks, while German courts and German politics just hope for the best when they let terrorists go without punishment. Just wonder how Göring, Hess, Speer et alt. would fare in contemporary German courts...
And let's stop this discussion now. Our comment sections are not meant as battlefield for meandering one-to-one discussions.

The prosecution had the chance to prove that he was guilty and obviously couldn't convince the court. You should be careful to blast institutions such as an independent judiciary that are essential for western civilisation.

Note from David: Thanks for the high-brow instruction. I was careful and still uphold my verdict.

To the user named David:

And if I were David, I'd leave Germany. Not even start thinking about – just doing it.

Some background from Wikipedia:

Abdelghani Mzoudi (sometimes transliterated Abdul Ghani Mzoudi) was a member of al-Qaida and an associate of Mohammed Atta, the lead pilot in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In 1999, Mzoudi lived in the Hamburg Cell, an apartment owned by Atta, where many of the organizers of the September 11, 2001 attacks met and planned their future. His specific role in the attacks has not been determined, but he does not seem to have attempted to enter the United States at any time.

Mzoudi was captured and tried in Germany, along with Mounir El Motassadeq, on charges relating to the 9/11 attacks. In their trials, both claimed Ramzi Binalshibh, a key planner of the attacks, would have given statements indicating their innocence. Both asked for the United States to present Binalshibh as a witness, and the judge agreed that this was a reasonable request. Although the German Justice Ministry pressed the U.S. to do present Binalshibh, the United States refused, and Mzoudi was thereby acquitted in February of 2004. Most observers believe that he would have been convicted had Binalshibh been made available as a witness.

In June 2005, a German federal appeals court upheld the acquittal due to insufficient evidence for retrial. The German Interior Ministry was seeking to deport Mzoudi, though the defense team was considering asking for asylum.

Now of course Wikipedia is not always accurate as its an open encyclopedia.

What I find interesting though is the perception of US justice in the German media and the role this may have on this trial and the status of terrorist suspects in Germany. I suspect this is why the title " Guantanamo vs Hamburg" was chosen.

The claim that he had no knowledge of the attacks but was merely living with Atta is a strange one. I have lived in a German student halls of residence before and I have to say that I wouldnt have had a clue what anyone else in those halls were up to. Compared to students in the UK (and I presume in the USA) these WGs were very anti-social and quite boring. I find it hard to believe that anyone planning an attack on the WTC would live with somebody he didnt trust or have confidence in however, especially if meetings and planning took place there. Whether Binalshibh appeared or not as a witness seems like a red herring to me because surely his status as a witness would be severely suspicious and any appearance by him in court or on video/ internet would surely only have been a chance for a convicted terrorist to gain world publicity and nothing more.

I havent actually followed the trial much myself so I have some questions. Did the USA wish to bring him to court in America? Did Germany have any legal basis to extradite him or to refuse this request if it were present?

What I can say is that because of the media reporting on issues concerning the WoT and US justice decisions in general, I do not think that the average Heinz or Anja believe that a fair trial in the USA is possible. This may be a factor in this decision. Is this what Medienkritik is claiming here? On top of this add the governments position, and in an election year, which could be also a factor? Also the noteriety of the German judicial system which has a reputation for being one of the areas in Germany where little to no denazification took place and the recent additions of new judges, as Niko says, that may have been put in place by politicians with an anti-US line? Which of these factors, or others I cant think of, is Medienkritik claiming played a role here?

If he had have been sent to the USA then surely if found guilty then he would go to prison in the US after this trial and not to Guantanamo. To be fair I am surprised that the camp is even mentioned here on this site as it is surely only for combatants captured in the WoT and not for cases like this. Is this Medienkritik trying to describe how German citizens may see the situation?

Sorry for all the questions but, unusually for this site, the position taken by you all in the original post isnt clear from the few sentences given. I am not trolling but merely confused and ignorant on the subject matter! *"peinlich" I know*

P.S. Gerhard is flying to the USA to meet Bush at the end of June. Is this good or bad timing for him?

@ Niko,

selected by politicians? My cousin is a judge and she wasn't selected by a politician. Any examples? And why should people elect their judges? What kind of election campaign would that be? They are accountable to law and constitution and not to public opinion.

In my opinion people should start blaminng the prosecution and not the judges for the outcome of the trial (and the appeal).

Well, the exciting part of the story will be coming during the next 14 days:
Mzoudi has to leave Germany.
Will he really do that?
Will he really return to Morocco?
How will the Moroccans treat him?
As an ordinary citizen?
As a hero?
As a member of al-Quaida?
Wait and see...

Tell you what I think. I think the Powers That Be in Germany are sympatico with the terrorists.

The terrorists only did what they would do if they but had the courage. Take a chunk out of the Imperial United States and the Evil George Bush.

Look a the pictures of Fischer beating the crap out of a cop. Is there really that much difference - underneath?

Slightly OT, but I did a double-take when I saw that photo. The collar of the guy behind him makes him look as if he has "devil" ears. LOL!

Is anyone truly surprised with the outcome of this trial?

I am surely not. Remember where it took place.

Could someone who actually knows some more details please explain (a) why some people might think the decision was politicized and (b) why others might think the decision was properly grounded in German law?

I might add, though, that the comments of German posters on this site don't make very pleasant reading for an American. One might think that the fact that a number of the 9/11 terrorists resided in Germany might, at a minimum, be a cause for some concern (not gloating). Whether or not this man was rightly acquitted, it would be reassuring if we in the USA could have some evidence that the German authorities are actually making reasonable efforts to get to the bottom of the conspiracy and imprison those responsible.

With it's experience from WW2 and the Court Systems active participation in furthering NAZI goals German Courts and Judges rightfully are very careful. They will error on the side of being wrong and letting a guilty person go free than violate their rights. This is also true of US Courts of law. It's not something I will take issue with.

Yes I think the guy is guilty, however that doesn't mean he is. Better a hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man go to prison as theg saying goes.

My guess is that he will find Morroco no happy place to live.

Note from David: In Germany terrorists are treated as criminals while the US considers them as prisoners according to the "laws of war, and the laws of war allow one to be detained without moving into a legal process." Also, the US wouldn't want to set terrorists free out of fear of new attacks, while German courts and German politics just hope for the best when they let terrorists go without punishment.

But we do. We released the two Muslim teenagers held without charges for two months. If they are terrorists, they should never have been released.

Of course, if they were NOT terrorists, they should not have been held for two months without charges...

I might add, though, that the comments of German posters on this site don't make very pleasant reading for an American

Funny, because it's exactly the same the other way round.

Look a the pictures of Fischer beating the crap out of a cop. Is there really that much difference - underneath?

Well, one difference would be that it has absolutely nothing to do with this blog entry, or with the court decision.

The US release a lot of people from Guantanamo after month and years i can remember several british citizens but no one faced a trial until now.
Why are this people still there.
If the US government has evidence that these people are terrorists or criminals bring them to justice and a court.
what sort of democracy should that Guantanamo type style democracy be a sort of democracy light with torture and no justice but only for foreign people at caribian exotic places.

From Bloomberg:

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Germany's Federal Court of Justice today ruled that a Moroccan national who was acquitted of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. for lack of proof will remain free.

The Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruled in February 2004 that Agdelghani Mzoudi, the second man to stand trial for his alleged role in the attacks, wasn't guilty of abetting the murder of more than 3,000 people and of being a member of the al-Qaeda terror cell in Hamburg that took part in the attacks.

The ``re-examination of the verdict and the hearing at the Higher Regional Court didn't show any judicial fault,'' the Court of Justice said in a statement e-mailed from Karlsruhe.

Mzoudi, 32, was a friend of the three Hamburg-based hijackers who crashed their planes into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington and another in a field in Pennsylvania, prosecutors have said. He was arrested in October 2002 in Hamburg, a port city in northern Germany.

The Federal Prosecution, which had asked the Hamburg court to imprison Mzoudi for 15 years, appealed against the verdict. The prosecutors said he helped the Hamburg terror cell around hijacker and alleged ringleader Mohamed Atta to organize its finances.

Documents forwarded by the U.S. with evidence from an alleged chief planner of the attacks, Ramzi Binalshibh, that were heard at the Hamburg court in December 2003, showed that Mzoudi may not have been included in planning the attacks on New York and Washington, the judges said at the time of the acquittal.

I found this article even more confusing.

Am I right though in thinking that the line taken by Medienkritik is that the one-sided and bias discussion (or lack of one) in Germany concerning the treatment and dealing with terrorist suspects and terrorism means that dangerous could be mass murderers are getting off because they are treated the same as criminals (as in 100% no doubt cases) which they may have been trained to get round rather than combatants where the potential risk may play a role?

If this is the case then I agree that the lack of discussion and debate is highly frustrating, especially the demonising of the USA, and that this may well be hindering any effective anti-terror legislation. BUT, especially in consideration of Germany´s history, I could not think of any changes in the law that would be acceptable. The US constitution has proven itself, Germany has not. Perhaps a proper debate may give ideas but this isnt going to happen.

I would however suggest that terrorist suspects wanted by the USA may be sent for trial in the USA. Does anyone know why this did not take place in this case?

I love this photo.

Note from Randlose: Apologies to David and Ray for acting rather foolishly. I know, I'm not the brightest kid, but I try hard to improof my English.

@ Michael,

"Funny, because it's exactly the same the other way round."

But the situations aren't exactly parallel, are they? In September 2001, a group of people--three of whom (including the apparent leader) were German residents--carried out a terrorist attack in the US. The reverse, however, is NOT true: no terrorist attacks against Germany were launched from the US.

It's hard for me to believe that no one else in Germany was involved in those attacks. Yet the German government has failed to obtain any convictions against any other suspects. I think this justifies Americans in feeling a certain degree of concern about Germany's conduct of the investigation, don't you?

It's also a little strange that no one in Germany (apart from David) seems to find the German government's strange ineptitude (if that's really what it is) in these prosecutions to be at all disturbing.

If a terrorist attack against Germany were launched from here, I would want the Justice Department to be doing everything in its power to identify and convict the perpetrators. Based on your postings, this doesn't seem to be how Germans view the situation.

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