Zacarias Moussaoui to serve life in prison

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Thursday, May 4, 2006

Zacarias Moussaoui.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema has agreed to a federal jury's recommendation that Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted for conspiring with al-Qaeda in the September 11 attacks, spend life in prison. He will serve his life term in a federal maximum security prison, in Florence, Colorado.

"God curse America. God save Osama bin Laden. You'll never get him," said Moussaoui moments before Judge Brinkema read her sentence.

Brinkema responded, "You came here to be a martyr and die in a big bang of glory. But to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper."

The jury, which consisted of three women and nine men, announced their verdict after one week of deliberation and a trial that lasted only six weeks.

"America, you lost! I won!," said Moussaoui after the verdict was read.

At least three jurors came to a conclusion that Moussaoui did not know enough about the attacks, three said that his role in the attacks were minor, three said that as a child, Moussaoui suffered from racism, nine said that his father abused him, and the other jurors said that the "dysfunctional family" forced him to leave his home.

This verdict "represents the end of this case but not an end to the fight against terror," said U.S. President George W. Bush. "Mr. Moussaoui got a fair trial. The jury convicted him to life in prison, where he will spend the rest of his life. In so doing, they spared his life, which is something that he evidently was not willing to do for innocent American citizens. It is really important for the United States to stay on the offence against these killers and bring them to justice."

Carie Lemack, the daughter of a September 11 victim, said "there's absolutely nothing in this country that all 9/11 family members are going to agree upon except that the attacks should never happen again, and I respect everyone's opinion. I think what's important is that we make sure Moussaoui will not get what he wants, which is to become a martyr and go down in history being someone bigger than he was. I'm glad that the jury looked at the evidence and realized he's just an al-Qaeda wannabe."

When Moussaoui spoke he said; "I have seen an amount of hypocrisy beyond any belief, your humanity is very selective humanity...You have branded me as a terrorist or a criminal should look at yourselves first ...I am a mujahid and you think you own the world, and you must admit you are wrong."

He described the trial as a "wasted opportunity for this country to understand and to learn why people like me and people like Mohamed Atta and the rest have so much hatred for you. You don't want to hear, America. You will feel. We will come back another day," he declared.

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This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2006-05-05 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. (audio help)