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Terror suspect wins witness access

Aug. 30, 2003 at 4:32 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Washington yesterday granted suspected "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui access to two higher-level al-Qaida members.

Moussaoui's attorneys had requested to take testimony from former al-Qaida operations chief Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, a Saudi man who allegedly served as paymaster to the Sept. 11 hijackers and is named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment against Moussaoui. Both have been captured and are being held in undisclosed locations.

Moussaoui has maintained that the operatives would clear him of any involvement in the terror plot. In a sealed order, the Washington Post reported Saturday, U.S. Judge Leonie M. Brinkema granted Moussaoui access to the two captives.

Moussaoui is charged with conspiring in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In January, Brinkema granted a defense motion to depose Ramzi Binalshibh. But prosecutors strongly objected to the deposition, saying it would interrupt a vital interrogation and threaten national security.

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