US 'pleased' with death for 9/11 conspirator
A new hearing begins on Thursday to decide whether the 37-year-old Frenchman Zacarias Moussaoui should be executed.india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 10:46 IST
The US government said on Monday it was "pleased" a jury had found Al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui eligible for the death penalty for his role in the September 11 attacks plot.
"We are pleased with the jury's ruling in this important case," Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said in a statement shortly after the jury delivered its verdict in the trial.
"Our efforts on behalf of the victims of 9/11 will continue as we pursue the next phase of this trial," Scolinos said.
A new hearing begins on Thursday to decide whether the 37-year-old Frenchman should be executed. He is the only person to face trial in the United States over the 2001 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
The jury of nine men and three women must now decide whether Moussaoui should be executed or go to jail for life with no parole during a hearing at the court just outside Washington in Alexandria, Virginia.
A senior Republican senator and a former member of the official September 11 commission of inquiry also welcomed the jury's finding against Moussaoui.
"Today's verdict is a small but important piece of justice. Mr Moussaouis punishment is proof that our society is grounded in the liberating power of justice and the rule of law, which are our most valuable weapons in the war on terror," Senate majority leader Bill Frist, a Republican, said in a statement.
Tim Roemer, a former Democratic congressman and a member of the September 11 commission inquiry, said he hoped the jury's decision would offer some closure to the families of those who died.
"I hope that it will be some kind of resolution for the pain and suffering for the 9/11 families who lost loved ones," Roemer said.
"I hope it will (also) wake our government up to pass the needed reforms to make our country safer when there is so much more to do," he said.
He added that "it shows that our justice system can function as one of many tools to help us fight terrorism".