4 May 2006
Today, the media announced that Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for allegedly contributing to the mass murder of 9/11. Thus ended the Moussaoui saga, which began in August 2001, when he was arrested.
The entire Moussaoui trial was punctuated by irregularities and unfairness: Moussaoui was not entitled to choose his own defense lawyer. The trial judge, Leonie Brinkema, accepted inadmissible hearsay evidence regarding the commission of the mass murder of 9/11, and accepted that the Government link Moussaoui’s statements with such hearsay evidence. She also admitted a Statement of Facts signed by Moussaoui, which includes alleged facts that Moussaoui could not in any way certify (when these alleged facts occurred, he sat in prison) and which were also unproved by themselves. His appointed judges did not ask that such a document be rejected as inadmissible. The Government did not bother to prove the facts “admitted” by Moussaoui. It relied on his own ravings as if they were the truth. Moussaoui was not permitted to have alleged Al Qaeda members in US detention testify in his case, on the absurd allegation by the US Government that their testimony might endanger US national security. The jury was never told that the whole official account on 9/11 remains until today heresay, in that the most fundamental facts concerning the commission of this crime have not been judicially established but determined by a political body.
Zacarias Moussaoui has not killed anyone. His alleged silence in custody did not cause – according to legal rules of causation – the death of anyone. His contradictory and bizarre statements should not have been taken at face value by the court. He may have been brainwashed. He may have been bribed or coerced to say what he said. He may be mentally insane. He may be megalomanic. In trying to demonstrate that finally one person was convicted for the mass murder of 9/11, the US Government found no one better to convict that this wreck, while the accused planners of the mass murder, Ramzi Binsalshibh and Khaled Mohammed Sheikh, who find themselves incommunicado in US custody, have neither been indicted nor presented to a judge. We do not know whether they have been tortured, brainwashed, or killed. We don’t know and the Moussaoui court did not ask, while accepting a summary of their alleged testimony.Judge Brinkema accepted to play this dirty game.
Whether Moussaoui will remain in prison all his life, or compelled to kill himself, is anyone’s guess. His conviction has not furthered the quest for the truth on the events of 9/11 nor justice for the victims.
The decision to sentence Zacarias Moussaoui to life imprisonment will remain a historical stain on US justice. Meanwhile the real planners and perpetrators of the mass murder are still roaming free and capable of committing further atrocities.