The announcement last week of the acquittal of Abdelghani Mzoudi, the 31-year-old Moroccan member of the al-Qaida cell in Hamburg, Germany, was a bitter disappointment for all who want to see the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attack brought to justice. The sight of Mzoudi's smiling picture after the dismissal of his case was made no easier by the thought that the policies of our own government appear to have contributed to this miscarriage of justice.
According to Richard Bernstein of the New York Times, "The prosecution's case against Mzoudi disintegrated essentially over the refusal by the United States to find a way to satisfy the Hamburg court's request for access to information gathered during interrogations of captured al-Qaida suspects." One of the prosecution's key witnesses, 9/11 planner Ramzi bin al-Shibh, is in U.S. custody. But the U.S. Department of Justice refused to cooperate with the prosecution. When the German interior minister, Otto Schily, personally appealed to John Ashcroft for some way to satisfy the Hamburg court's demand, he was rebuffed. Bernstein concludes that "the United States essentially stood by while an Al Qaeda suspect went free, even as it perplexed German officials doing their best to help in the anti-terror battle."