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 Home > News > Top News > Article
Girlfriend Tells German Court About Sept 11 Pilot
Tue November 19, 2002 12:03 PM ET
By Philip Blenkinsop

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - The girlfriend of an alleged September 11 hijacker told a German court on Tuesday she helped him find a flying school, planned to marry him and got an odd phone call from him on the day of the attacks.

Aysel Sengun, a German-born doctor, spoke at length about her close relationship with Ziad Jarrah, who U.S. authorities believe flew the hijacked jet that crashed in Pennsylvania.

"He called me on September 11...he was very brief. He said he loved me three times. I asked what was up. He hung up shortly afterwards... It was so short and rather strange him saying that repeatedly," Sengun told the court at the trial of Mounir El Motassadeq, a Moroccan accused of being the paymaster for the al Qaeda cell based in Germany which allegedly led the attacks.

Sengun said she met Jarrah in the western German city of Bochum in 1996 and spoke about problems in their relationship.

"He had a different view of Islam than I did. He was more serious... He wanted me to cover up. I said I wouldn't do so for him, only for God," Sengun said, sitting in a turtle-neck pullover and jeans next to her lawyer.

Jarrah disappeared from November 1999 to February 2000. Prosecutors say he went to meet fellow conspirators at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. Sengun said he told her he had visited Pakistan, and returned with a plan to train as a pilot.

"We wanted to get married at some point and have children. He said he wanted to become a commercial pilot," she said.

She recounted Jarrah's subsequent move to the United States and her 10-day visit in January 2001, during which she sat as a passenger when Jarrah trained in a Boeing flight simulator.

Her only contact with Motassadeq came from late 1999 to early 2000. Jarrah, who was out of the country, had asked him to look after her and Sengun said she had spoken to the accused several times on the telephone.

But she said she knew none of Jarrah's other friends in Hamburg, such as Mohamed Atta, who allegedly led the Hamburg cell and flew the first plane into the World Trade Center.

CHILLING WARNING

Later on Tuesday, former university library worker Angela Duine told the court she had met a number of Atta's alleged group, including Marwan Al Shehhi, who is believed to have crashed the second plane into the twin towers.

Recounting one incident in 1999, she said Al Shehhi was agitated, sweating and typing wildly on a computer keyboard.

"He told me something would happen in which thousands would be killed. The World Trade Center was mentioned," she said.

Defense lawyers also learned on Tuesday the United States will not make available for questioning two suspects held in U.S. custody: Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national on trial who U.S. officials think was meant to the 20th hijacker, and Ramzi Bin Al-Shaibah, an ex-Hamburg resident arrested in Pakistan.

However, trial judges and lawyers will travel to Seattle next month to question Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian who was arrested in December 1999 trying to enter the United States from Canada in a car packed with explosives.

Motassadeq, a 28-year-old electrical engineering student, is charged with being an accessory to 3,045 murders in New York and Washington and with belonging to the Hamburg Islamist cell. His lawyers deny he was involved in the September 11 attacks.

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