Convicted 9/11 Terrorist Returns Home from Prison Early to 'Hero's Welcome'
Mounir el-Motassadeq hailed a hero as he arrives in home country after early release
One of only two men to ever be convicted for the 9/11 terror attacks, has been released from prison early and sent back to his home country, where the terrorist received a "hero's welcome."
44-year-old convicted terrorist Mounir el-Motassadeq was jailed in Germany for his role in the 2001 atrocity in New York and Washington DC.
Now, el-Motassadeq is back with his family in Morrocco where he is free to walk the streets as locals praise him as "a hero."
He was deported by the German Government to be with his wife and children near the Moroccan city of Marrakesh following his early release from prison and was greeted by well-wishers as he returned from prayers at his local mosque, according to the Daily Mail.
According to the Express, a friend of the family told the paper there were scenes of jubilation on his return and said people traveled from all over Morocco to see him.
El-Motassadeq, 44, described in German courts as the “treasurer” for the 9/11 hijackers, spent less than 15 years in prison for his part in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon which killed 2,977 people.
He was a friend of terrorist Mohamed Atta who crashed a plane into the North Tower and was one of the ringleaders of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell behind the outrage.
The only other man convicted over 9/11, Zacarias Moussaoui, is serving six life sentences in a maximum security prison in the US after admitting to being part of the plot.
But El-Motassadeq is back in the lavish three-story house which belonged to his deceased father Ibrahim in Marrakesh's middle-class Dawdiyat neighborhood.
The Daily Mail reported there was no obvious surveillance at the property, although police sources said he would be watched.
His sister, who lives in the same house, said “hamdullah” – Arabic for “praise be to God” – when asked by the paper if she was happy about his release.
And neighbors said they were “very happy” to have him back.
One, who gave her name as Hayat, said: “We are very happy. The neighbors were not afraid to find out he was back.
“During the first and second day after he was released the streets were full of people coming to see him.
“His family were coming from different cities to greet him.
"They were really happy that he is back.
"His mum was crying tears of joy.
"His siblings were really happy.”
She said el-Motassadeq had rarely emerged from the property, other than to greet relatives and attend mosque.
Hayat said: “We have been neighbors for years.
"I knew him before he went to Germany.
“He goes to the mosque to pray.
"There's nothing suspicious.
"People come and see him and sleep over at his house.”
She said el-Motassadeq was “very well brought up” and did not believe he had done anything wrong.
Hayat described el-Motassadeq's wife, Maria Pavlova, a Russian Muslim convert, as a “stay-at-home mum” who lives in the house with his mother and sister and her children. She added:
Ms. Pavlova lived with el-Motassadeq and their two children in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, where they both studied before his arrest.
They had a third child together before he was jailed.
They have a daughter, now 18 and at university, and two sons, 17 and 12.
El-Motassadeq was released on October 15 before completing his 15-year sentence on the condition he agreed to be deported to Morocco.
He was transferred under heavily armed guard by Puma helicopter from Fuhlsbuttel prison in Hamburg to Frankfurt airport where he boarded Royal Air Maroc flight AT811 to Casablanca that night.