Moussaoui may serve jail term in France

4th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 4, 2006 (AFP) - The mother of Zacarias Moussaoui on Thursday asked French authorities to request that the al-Qaeda plotter, sentenced to life in prison by a US jury, serve his time in a French prison, her lawyer said.

PARIS, May 4, 2006 (AFP) - The mother of Zacarias Moussaoui on Thursday asked French authorities to request that the al-Qaeda plotter, sentenced to life in prison by a US jury, serve his time in a French prison, her lawyer said.

Lawyer Patrick Baudouin, speaking to journalists with Moussaoui's mother, Aisha el-Wafi, at his side, said she had asked French officials "to intervene with the American authorities to ask that Zacarias Moussaoui serve out his term in a French prison".

He said Moussaoui's French citizenship made such an idea possible, though he noted that France, unlike the United States, does not exclude reducing life sentences.

France's foreign ministry said a request for Moussaoui's transfer could be examined under existing judicial agreements linking France and the United States, once his sentence is formally pronounced later Thursday.

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales promised Thursday that US officials would examine any request by the French government for al-Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui to serve his jail sentence in France.

"No formal request has been made," Gonzales said in Vienna, on the sidelines of a conference of European and Russian justice and interior ministers.

"We expect a request by the French government. We will examine it."

A US jury ruled that the 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent should be jailed for life without parole — and rejected the death penalty — for his role in the September 11 attacks conspiracy.

Wafi had told French radio after the sentence was announced against her son late on Wednesday: "It's the worst thing that could happen to a mother".

She said her son "was convicted for what he said, not what he did".

Once the judge in the case formally pronounces that sentence, Moussaoui is expected to be sent to a 'Supermax' security prison in the Colorado town of Florence, dubbed the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies'.

The complex houses 399 other prisoners, including some allied to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

British 'shoe bomber' Richard Reid is incarcerated there, as is blind Egyptian Muslim cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, jailed for conspiracy after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Ramzi Youssef, also implicated in the 1993 plot.

Wafi said at Thursday's media conference that France should have been more involved in Moussaoui's defence.

"I wanted France to have said: 'This (French) national should be judged for what he did, not what he said, not because he's an Arab'," she said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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