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Berlin to send observers to 9/11 trials

AFP · 23 Nov 2009, 15:00

Published: 23 Nov 2009 15:00 GMT+01:00

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Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger "has made clear that observers will follow the trial," her spokesman said at a regular government news conference.

She expects a deal struck between Berlin and Washington that elements of evidence obtained in Germany will not be used to condemn the men to death "would be respected," the spokesman added.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington were partly planned in Hamburg, in northern Germany. Like other EU member states, Germany has no death penalty.

The five men, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, face trial at a courthouse close to Ground Zero, where thousands died after Al-Qaida extremists flew hijacked airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.

Story continues below…

US President Barack Obama, defending plans to try the men in a civilian court, predicted last week that Sheikh Mohammed would be convicted and said the death sentence applied to him.

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Your comments about this article

16:29 November 23, 2009 by berlinski
The crime happened in the US, why shouldn't US justice apply to them? In any case, I am sure there is enough of all kinds of evidence to convict them.
16:32 November 23, 2009 by Hibernicus
Hope they bring some engineering experts and somebody from the Max Planck Institute with them. They might be able to find out how an aluminium tube of an aircraft can knock down a steel-skeleton concrete building, twice, and another building which wasn't hit by anything at all.
17:24 November 23, 2009 by Celeon
@ Berlinski

Yes of course it happened in the u.s but parts of the planning where done in that apartment in Hamburg.

The evidence for that was collected by german police and intelligence and not u.s services. Thats why the german government provides the evidence to the u.s trial against the suspects.

And thats where the problem lies for Berlin. Like others they advocate the abolishment of the death penalty worldwide since decades.

It would be quite emberassing for one that condems the death penalty in Iran while he ,at the same time, is actively helping another country to put the death penalty onto someone.

So the only solution is to make sure that the provided evidence is provided to the judge/judges in the USA so that they can found the suspects to be guilty and convict them , but is not used to sentence them to death. Life in prison would be no problem.
17:55 November 23, 2009 by Soonerdiver
For "Berlinski"... if you feel that the death sentence should NOT be use; but life in prison would be no problem; then let us send them to Germany to spend their time behind bars. You can foot the bill and pay for all their needs.

If and when they are found guilty and are sentenced to death I don't think you have a say in the matter. If parts of the bombing were planned on German soil, so be it; then you can try them for that aspect of the crime.

But part and parcel... they are found guilty they should get the "hot shot" into their arm.
23:15 November 23, 2009 by Fredfeldman
This is all politics of course. Despite the unwise decision to prosecute the defendants in NYC with all the implications of cost and risk not to mention the creation of a forum for anti US pronouncements by said defendants, the German justice minister comments aside we can be sure that said defendants will be strung up no matter what the europeans have to say about it.
08:17 November 24, 2009 by Bushdiver
They haven't been convicted yet but an interesting fact is that the death penalty seems to be a lot more expensive than a life sentence.

10:00 November 25, 2009 by Celeon
Some of you are still not getting the point.

Of course Germany has no say about the sentence as it is a u.s trial.

But it has say over what is done with evidence it provided.

The observers are there to withdraw all evidence provided by Germany if the u.s judges should try to use it for applying the death sentence to the suspects.

Its simply : "You want the death sentence for the suspects, then sentence them solely on the basis of your own collected evidence and without using our share of the evidence , just as you've promised"

Thats the whole story and the purpose of the observers.

Obviously Berlin does not fully trust Washington's promise not to use evidence provided by Germany to sentence them to death.

As i said, it would be quite emberassing for a country that propagates the abolishment of the death sentence to be accused of assisting another one in applying it.

And thats exactly what would happen if the u.s judges also refer to evidence from Hamburg when they sentence the suspects to death.
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