Germany, France to Aid Moussaoui’s Prosecution
Germany and France agreed Wednesday to provide evidence and information for the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui after U.S. officials promised the material would not be used to support his execution.
Both countries have banned capital punishment and refuse to submit material that could lead to a defendant’s execution in other nations.
Moussaoui, a French citizen, faces the death penalty if convicted of conspiring with the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers to commit terrorism and aircraft piracy. Any French and German evidence could conceivably be used in the guilt or innocence phase of the case, but not in the separate penalty phase if Moussaoui is convicted.
“The United States of America has assured that the evidence and the information submitted by Germany will not directly or indirectly be used against the defendant nor against a third party toward the imposition of the death penalty,” the German government said in a statement released by its embassy here.
The French Justice Ministry issued a similar statement and said the two countries agreed on a joint position at a meeting between French Justice Minister Dominique Perben and Germany’s federal justice minister, Brigitte Zypries.
Zypries said exchanges of information between U.S. and German officials have reached an unprecedented level.
She hailed the agreement as a “further contribution in our joint fight against international terrorism.” She said countries participating in the anti-terrorism coalition should “support each other in the area of criminal proceedings, as far as each of their national constitutions allow.”
A Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “This is what we asked for. We’re happy with it.”
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III visited Berlin in September to confer with German law enforcement officials and Hamburg investigators probing the terror cell that participated in the Sept. 11 attacks.
“The thing we all have to recognize is no one country can address terrorism on its own,” Mueller told reporters.
Germans allege Moussaoui was chosen by the Hamburg cell leader Mohamed Atta to be the fourth pilot of the hijacked airplanes, and that they traced a money transfer for flight school in Minnesota to Hamburg.
However, U.S. officials said recently that Ramzi Binalshibh, an Al Qaeda operative now in custody, has told interrogators that Moussaoui was a backup in the plot.
The indictment against Moussaoui said that from July 29 to Aug. 4, 2001, in Norman, Okla., Moussaoui made several telephone calls from public phones to a number in Duesseldorf, Germany.
When he was arrested Aug. 16, 2001, the indictment said, Moussaoui’s possessions included a notebook listing the German phone number, a second German phone number and the name “Ahad Sabet.” The indictment said “Sabet” actually was Binalshibh, who wired Moussaoui $14,000 from Duesseldorf and Hamburg on or about Aug. 1 and Aug. 3, 2001.