German court hands Moroccan max for 9/11
By SIMONE UTLER, Associated Press Writer
HAMBURG, Germany – A Moroccan man convicted of aiding three of the four suicide pilots who committed the Sept. 11 attacks was sentenced Monday to the maximum of 15 years in prison for his role in the terror plot.
A German federal appeals court convicted Mounir el Motassadeq in November of knowingly helping the hijackers and sent the case to a state court in Hamburg for sentencing.
“Anyone who helped in this has earned stiff punishment,” presiding Judge Carsten Beckmann said after announcing Monday’s verdict. Defense lawyers said they would appeal.
Shortly before the verdict was announced, the 32-year-old defendant exchanged emotionally charged words with an American whose mother died on one of the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center.
Dominic Puopolo Jr. fought back tears and held up pictures of his mother, Sonia Morales Puopolo, an American Airlines flight attendant, as he joined prosecutors in calling for the maximum penalty. He urged the judges to consider the “human and emotional cost” of the 2001 attacks. The American man is a co-plaintiff in the case under the German court system.