FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2007 file picture Moroccan Mounir El Motassadeq waits prior his trial at a court in Hamburg, northern Germany, The Moroccan man has been sentenced to a 15-year prison sentence in Germany for helping three of the suicide pilots in the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. (AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer, Pool)

Germany preparing to deport convicted Sept 11 suspect

October 15, 2018 - 3:55 am

BERLIN (AP) — A Moroccan man convicted of helping three of the Sept. 11 attackers as they plotted to strike New York and Washington was flown from a Hamburg jail on Monday to the city's airport in preparation for his deportation to his home country.

Mounir el Motassadeq, who was convicted in 2006 of membership in a terrorist organization and accessory to murder for his part in the plot, was expected to be put on a flight to Marrakesh, Morocco.

The 44-year-old was flown by helicopter to the airport, and then escorted from the helicopter by two heavily armed police officers into a waiting area pending the afternoon flight, the dpa news agency reported.

El Motassadeq, who denied knowing his friends were preparing the attacks on the U.S., was sentenced to the maximum 15 years, but received credit for time served after his November 2001 arrest.

Earlier Monday, Hamburg Interior Ministry spokesman Frank Reschreiter said el Motassadeq would "leave the country soon," but wouldn't specify exactly when he'd be returned to Morocco, saying authorities didn't want to jeopardize the procedure.

"All the necessary procedural steps for this have been ticked off according to plan," Reschreiter said.

El Motassadeq's attorney Jan Jacob refused to comment on the case.