BERLIN (AP) – A German court Friday ordered a Moroccan convicted of helping the Sept. 11 suicide pilots returned to prison while awaiting sentencing, overturning a lower court’s decision.

Mounir el Motassadeq, already facing seven years in prison for membership in a terrorist organization, was found guilty by an appeals court Thursday of an additional 246 counts of accessory to murder.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled that evidence showed he was aware Hamburg-based hijackers Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah planned to hijack and crash planes, even though he might not have known the specifics of his plot.

The court sent the case back to the original trial court in Hamburg for revised sentencing. A date has not yet been set for the sentencing, which could see his prison term extended to 15 years. El Motassadeq, who already has spent a total of about three years in prison, has been free since February during his appeals process.

Following the Thursday ruling, prosecutors asked that he be taken back into custody but the Hamburg court decided he could remain free, saying that he had been abiding by the conditions set for him.

On Friday, the Federal Court of Justice overturned that ruling. Shortly thereafter, el Motassadeq was seen leaving his home escorted by six Hamburg police. He wore no handcuffs.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.