RealNews

Options sought in al-Qaeda case

A U.S. appeals court took the unusual step Tuesday of giving prosecutors in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui a chance to come up with an alternative to allowing Moussaoui’s lawyers access to a captured al-Qaeda operative. If prosecutors act on the offer, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema would determine whether Moussaoui’s right to a fair trial would be met by proposals that could allow the government to avoid providing direct access to alleged al-Qaeda paymaster Ramzi Bin al-Shibh. Possible alternatives include written summaries of Bin al-Shibh’s statements to U.S. interrogators, or testimony from those interrogators. Moussaoui lawyer Frank Dunham said the defense suggested the action taken by the appeals court, based in Richmond, Va. The case against Moussaoui, 34, the only person charged in the USA in the Sept. 11 conspiracy, is stalled because of the conflict between a defendant’s right to a fair trial and the government’s interest in protecting national security. Moussaoui and his attorneys say Bin al-Shibh, who was captured in Pakistan in September, could show that Moussaoui was not part of al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11 conspiracy. Prosecutors say granting the defense access to Bin al-Shibh would jeopardize U.S. intelligence-gathering methods and sources. Full Story

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