- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 13, 2006


Convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui yesterday began serving his life sentence at the nation’s most secure prison after U.S. marshals flew him overnight from Virginia to Colorado.

Marshals brought Moussaoui early yesterday to the Supermax federal prison in southern Colorado, where he will spend 23 hours a day in his cell and have little to no contact with other notorious criminals.

“He has now begun serving his sentence of life without the possibility of release,” the U.S. Marshals Service said.

A special team of deputy marshals took Moussaoui from a detention center in Alexandria late Friday night, put him on a small jet operated by the agency and delivered him to the prison in Florence, Colo., about 90 miles southwest of Denver.

Moussaoui was the only prisoner aboard, said Ken Deal, chief deputy U.S. marshal in Denver. Mr. Deal said he did not know if the 37-year-old Frenchman made any statements during the transfer.

“He is secure in the administrative max (prison) in Florence, Colorado,” Mr. Deal said. “All the inmates transferred there are handled with the highest level of security.”

Moussaoui arrived at 5:17 a.m. EDT, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.

The transfer got under way on the same day that Moussaoui’s court-appointed lawyers appealed his life sentence and the denial of his request for a new trial.

In a one-paragraph notice of appeal, the lawyers said Moussaoui wanted the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the final judgment and sentence he received May 4 and Judge Leonie M. Brinkema’s May 8 denial of his request to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial on the original charges.

The $60 million Supermax, formally called Administrative Maximum, was built in 1995 in a town of 3,600 people. The triangular, two-story prison was designed for inmates once held at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Ill., which replaced Alcatraz when it closed in 1963.

Among the inmates at the prison are Ramzi Yousef, Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski and Terry Nichols. Also there is Richard Reid, the would-be shoe bomber Moussaoui said was to help him fly a fifth plane into the White House on September 11. The Bureau of Prisons said the Supermax houses 398 “of the nation’s most violent, disruptive and escape-prone inmates.”

Judge Brinkema sentenced him to six life terms, to run as two consecutive life sentences.

At Supermax, the soundproofed cells were designed so inmates cannot make eye contact with each other. Each 7-by-12-foot cell has a long, narrow window looking out at other prison walls or the small concrete recreation yard.

Concrete platforms topped with mattresses function as beds. Each cell also contains a concrete stool, shower and toilet.

Inmates get one hour out of their cells each day to eat or play basketball or handball, though some earn longer recreation periods through good behavior. They can take academic courses via closed-circuit television in each cell. Religious services are conducted in a small chapel.

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