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9/11 terrorist issued final verdict

BERLIN, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A German court Monday sentenced terror suspect Mounir al-Motassadeq to 15 years in prison for accessory to mass murder.

The court handed Motassadeq, an affiliate of the Hamburg terror cell that planned and carried out the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the maximum penalty for accessory to murder in 246 cases.

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The sentence came after only three days in court, despite repeated tries by Motassadeq's lawyer to delay the process, and after three re-trials.

On the last court day, shortly before the sentence was read out, the 32-year-old Moroccan denied knowing about 9/11 and said he understood the grief shared by victims' relatives, but added the judges would inflict similar pain on him by sentencing him.

"My future is ruined," he said, according to Spiegel Online.

Motassadeq becomes only the second person to be sentenced in connection with 9/11.

In 2003, Motassadeq had already been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding to murder more than 3,000 people and for belonging to a terrorist group. That verdict, however, was later overturned by a German court because U.S. authorities denied the Germans access to a witness in U.S. custody that would potentially have absolved him.

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The sentence that was subsequently given to him, seven years in prison, was contested by prosecutors who felt it was too short.

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