BERLIN – German prosecutors on Friday charged a friend of Sept. 11 suicide pilot Mohamed Atta as an accessory to murder in the attacks, making him the second suspected member of the Hamburg Al Qaeda cell to be charged in Germany.
Abdelghani Mzoudi, 30, was also charged with belonging to a terrorist organization. He was arrested in Hamburg last October and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Mzoudi is accused of providing logistical support for the Hamburg cell and helping its members pass for students to elude authorities, federal prosecutors said in a statement. He has denied any involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks, saying although he knew Atta and others in the cell he knew nothing of their plans.
He was also a friend of Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan who in February became the first Sept. 11 suspect worldwide to be convicted for his part in the attacks.
Mzoudi is expected to be tried in state court in Hamburg, which sentenced el Motassadeq to the maximum 15 years in prison on the same charges.
German investigators questioned Mzoudi last summer when they raided an Islamic bookstore in Hamburg believed to be a meeting place for fundamentalists planning new attacks.
But they lacked sufficient evidence to arrest him until a witness placed Mzoudi in Afghan training camps in 2000 at the same time as el Motassadeq and Zakariya Essabar, also suspected of being a cell logistician. El Motassadeq later testified that he had run into Mzoudi in Afghanistan.