The eyes of the world are fixed on Alexandria in the US state of Virginia for a key stage in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui – the only person charged in America in connection with the September 11 attacks. He has pleaded guilty to all six charges against him.
Today sees the start of the selection of the jury which will decide whether he is sentenced to death or life in prison. The French national is accused of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and other charges but denies being part of the 9/11 plot.
He has, however, claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda and during this process pledged allegiance to Ossama bin Laden. Law professor Johnathon Turley said it is a difficult and complicated case:
“So you have this guy confessing to crimes that American and European intelligence officials don’t think he actually commited. He is a terrorist, there is no question about that.”
Prosecutors have described Moussaoui as the ‘20th hijacker’. But his behaviour throughout the proceedings has been erratic and belligerent, leading observers to question his competence to stand trial. A judge has ruled he is mentally fit.