Zacarias Moussaoui, the 9/11 conspirator jailed for life in the US, has said that Americans missed a chance during his trial to learn why al-Qaeda hates them.
In his parting remarks at a court in Virginia, Moussaoui, a French citizen of Morrocan descent and the only person charged in the US over the hijacked aircraft attacks on September 11, 2001, accused Americans of "hypocrisy ... beyond any belief".
He said Americans feel only their own pain, and wondered if they would ever consider "how many people the CIA has destroyed".
He called the trial "a wasted opportunity for this country to understand ... why people like me, like [hijacker] Mohamed Atta and the rest have so much hatred for you".
Leonie Brinkema, the district judge who sentenced him on Thursday to six life sentences after a jury spared him the death penalty, then disputed his declaration that: "America, you lost. ... I won."
She told Moussaoui, 37, that after the proceedings everyone else in the room would be "free to go any place they want", meet friends and enjoy their lives.
But he, on the other hand, "will spend the rest of your life in a super- maximum-security prison. ... It's quite clear who won ... and who lost".
Dying with a whimper
"You came here to be a martyr in a great big bang of glory," she said, "but to paraphrase the poet TS Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper."
At that point, Moussaoui tried to interrupt her, but she raised her voice and said: "You will never again get a chance to speak and that's an appropriate and fair ending."
"Maybe one day she can think about how many people the CIA has destroyed. ... You have an amount of hypocrisy which is beyond any belief. Your humanity is a very selective humanity. Only you suffer; only you feel"
A juror who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity said some members of the panel had voted against execution because Moussaoui "wasn't necessarily part of the 9/11 operation", the newspaper reported on Friday.
The jurors' inability to agree unanimously on the death penalty automatically produced the life sentences.
Earlier, Lisa Dolan who lost her husband, Bob, in the attack on the Pentagon, was one of three family members of victims who spoke at sentencing. Looking at Moussaoui, she said: "There is still one final judgment day."
Moussaoui sat staring at Dolan and the other family witnesses, Rosemary Dillard and Abraham Scott.
When his turn came, Moussaoui put aside prepared remarks to respond to them, referring first to Dillard, who spoke of losing her husband, Eddie, at the Pentagon.
Hypocrisy beyond belief
"She said I destroyed her life and she lost her husband," Moussaoui said. "Maybe one day she can think about how many people the CIA has destroyed. ... You have an amount of hypocrisy which is beyond any belief. Your humanity is a very selective humanity. Only you suffer; only you feel.""You have branded me as a terrorist or criminal," Moussaoui continued. "You should look about yourself first. I fight for my belief."
Then, having spoken for less than five minutes, he wrapped up: "You don't want to hear the truth."
Moussaoui will live in a super
maximum-security federal jail
He said Americans had wasted the opportunity of his trial to learn why he and other al-Qaeda members hate Americans.
"As long as you don't want to hear, you will feel, America," he said. "If you don't want to hear, you will feel pain.
"God curse America and save Osama bin Laden. You will never get him."
Brinkema told Moussaoui that he could not appeal against his conviction but could appeal against his sentence. However, she predicted that "it would be an act of futility".
Aisha El-Wafi, Moussaoui's mother, told Aljazeera that her son had been sentenced for what he has said, not for things that he had done. She said that he had been made a scapegoat.
United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, Criminal No. 01-455-A
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia