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Moussaoui gets life in jail

"America you lost!" Moussaoui shouted as he left the courtroom after hearing the verdict. He clapped his hands and yelled, "I won!"

india Updated: May 04, 2006 10:53 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted in a US court in connection with September 11, should spend his life in prison instead of being executed for his role in the hijacked airliner attacks, a jury decided on Wednesday.

"America you lost!" Moussaoui shouted as he left the courtroom after hearing the verdict. He clapped his hands and yelled, "I won!"

The 37-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent will be formally sentenced on Thursday.

The verdict was read by US District Judge Leonie Brinkema at the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, not far from the Pentagon, the site of one of the 2001 attacks. It was read simultaneously before television cameras outside the courthouse by spokesman Edward Adams.

Moussaoui sat praying silently as Brinkema read the verdict. He appeared to relax in his seat after she read that the jurors did not unanimously agree that a sentence of death should be imposed.

The jury did not find that Moussaoui's actions resulted in the deaths of about 3,000 people on that September day -- a central part of the government's demand for the death penalty.

"No jurors found that the execution of Zacarias Moussaoui will create a martyr for radical Muslim fundamentalists and to Al Qaeda in particular," Adams said.

"Three jurors found that Zacarias Moussaoui's role in the 9/11 operation, if any, was minor," he said.

Nine jurors also gave weight to Moussaoui's unstable early childhood and dysfunctional family life, part of a defence presented by lawyers on their client's behalf.

The government, which had demanded the death penalty, has seen other high-profile cases in its war on terrorism deflate.

First Published: May 04, 2006 01:46 IST