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German bid to expel 9/11 suspects

• Profile:  Mounir el Motassadeq
Acts of terror
September 11 attacks

(CNN) -- German authorities have said they want to expel terror suspects Mounir Motassedeq and Abdelghani Mzoudi, both accused in the September 11 attacks.

Retrials of the two -- Motassedeq's original conviction was overturned and Mzoudi was acquitted -- must take place before any deportation procedures.

Even then the decision can be appealed, said Hamburg Interior senator Udo Nagel.

Motassedeq's February 2003 conviction -- on charges of providing logistical help to Mohammed Atta, the reputed ringleader of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States -- was thrown out in March.

Mzoudi was acquitted in February of charges he was an accessory in the attacks.

Judges determined Motassedeq and Mzoudi could not be convicted because of a lack of evidence, citing the U.S. government's rejection of access to Ramzi bin al-Shibh as a witness.

Bin al-Shibh is allegedly a high-level al Qaeda operative who was involved in coordinating the September 11 attacks.

Late last year, he was captured in Pakistan. Currently, he is being held by U.S. government interrogators in an undisclosed location.

He has also figured in the proceedings against another terrorist suspect, Zacarias Moussaoui, in the United States.

In April, a U.S. appeals court ruled that Moussaoui has a right to the prisoners' testimony but that U.S. security concerns must also prevail.

Authorities want to expel Motassedeq and Mzoudi because they are considered "particularly dangerous" to the "laws and security of the Federal Republic of Germany," the interior ministry said.

"In addition, it is the view of the interior ministry that evidence shows that (they) support international terrorism."

Nagel also said officials were prepared to go a second route if deportation did work -- the German government has denied the pair student visa applications because they are not enrolled in a university.

Motassedeq's retrial is due to begin in Hamburg in August and Mzoudi's later in the year.

CNN Correspondent Chris Burns and Producer Stephanie Halasz contributed to this report.

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