Moussaoui Sentenced to Life

Thursday, May 4, 2006

This morning, Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole as consequence for his role in helping to plan the the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Moussaoui was convicted on six counts including: conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy,conspiracy to destroy aircraft, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to murder united states employees, and conspiracy to destroy property. Moussaoui is currently the only person to be charged in connection to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon four-and-a-half years ago.

As his sentence was announced Moussaoui was as defiant as ever, telling the court, "God curse America. God bless and save Osama bin Laden -- you will never get him."

"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," responded Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema.

According to the Associated Press, the sentence of life in prison was reached after three of the jurors decided that Moussaoui's knowledge before the attacks was limited. Three other jurors felt that his role in the plot was minor, if he even had a role at all. While Moussaoui was eligible for the death penalty, the possibility of his execution was never certain. Especially after Judge Leonie Brinkema recessed the case because seven Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were sent e-mails by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) attorney Carla Martin concerning details of the prosecutions case before the start of trial.

That was only one example of the drama that transpired during the trial. At one point Moussaoui testified that he and Richard Reid (the so-called "Shoe Bomber") had been tasked with the mission to hijack a plane and crash it into the White House on September 11. No connection between Moussaoui and Reid has been found however. In fact during 9/11, Moussaui was in Federal custody in Minnesota, after being arrested by the FBI in August 2001 on an immigration violation.

Most likely, Moussaoui will serve his sentence in the "supermax" Federal Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. This facility is often referred to as "the Alcatraz of the Rockies". He'll spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.

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