- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2006

A federal judge formally sentenced convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui to six life terms in prison yesterday, telling the September 11 conspirator that he “will never get a chance to speak again” and “will die with a whimper.”

Moussaoui, who will not be eligible for parole, showed no remorse during the brief sentencing hearing, reverting to his rantings that became common during the proceedings.

“I will be free, and my liberation will be the proof that we are the soldiers of God and you are the army of Satan,” the self-avowed al Qaeda member said. “God save Osama bin Laden, you will never get him.”

Moussaoui sat in a chair facing three family members of September 11 victims at the hearing. Referring to Rosemary Dillard, who lost her husband in the attack on the Pentagon, he said, “I destroyed a life and she lost a husband. Maybe one day she can think about how many people the CIA has destroyed.”

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who warned Moussaoui that he could not use the hearing to make a political speech, told him that he “will never get a chance to speak again.”

“You came here to be a martyr in a great bang of glory, but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper.”

While the judge made it clear that her recommendation was that Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, serve his sentence in a maximum security prison, authorities have not determined where he will be placed.

“The designation for [Moussaoui] has not been made yet, and even once we make that designation, it’s not public until the inmate actually arrives at the designated institution,” said Traci L. Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Moussaoui, meanwhile, will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Although it is not certain, he most likely will be sent to the bureau’s “supermax” facility in Florence, Col., known as “ADX” or the administrative max.

The prison houses “our most dangerous, disruptive, escape-prone inmates,” said Mrs. Billingsley, adding that ADX, opened in 1994, houses about 400 inmates but has 490 beds. Moussaoui would be alone in his cell, and each cell is isolated.

Reacting to Moussaoui’s sentencing, the convict’s mother said her son was “going to live like a rat in a hole.”

“What for? They are so cruel,” said Aicha el-Wafi, who criticized the French government for not doing enough to intervene. “My son will be buried alive because France didn’t dare contradict the Americans.”

French authorities said they may eventually push for custody of Moussaoui, who retains his right to an appeal, but that they were waiting to hear the conditions of his sentencing.

The 42-page verdict reveals how jurors rejected arguments that Moussaoui suffers a mental illness and that executing him would make him a martyr. Nine jurors found that he suffered a difficult childhood in a dysfunctional family, where he spent early years in and out of orphanages. Three found he played only a minor role in the September 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

In light of legal difficulty that surrounded Moussaoui’s case since his arrest in the weeks before the attacks, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday acknowledged “challenges that exist with respect to prosecuting terrorist cases in our system.”

“I think justice was served in this case,” he said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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