Moussaoui's mother claims he is 9/11 'scapegoat'

25th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

MONTPELLIER, France, April 25 (AFP) - The mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, the Frenchman who pleaded guilty to US charges that he took part in Al-Qaeda's September 11 conspiracy, said Monday her son had been made a "scapegoat".

MONTPELLIER, France, April 25 (AFP) - The mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, the Frenchman who pleaded guilty to US charges that he took part in Al-Qaeda's September 11 conspiracy, said Monday her son had been made a "scapegoat".  

"My son pleaded guilty, but I don't understand why," Aicha El-Wafi told a press conference in the southern French city of Montpellier.   

"American prosecutors need a guilty party. The American government says that Islamists want blood, but they want to kill my son and so they're doing the same thing because he's an Arab," she said.  

"My son has been made a scapegoat," she added, however noting that she wants "to believe in the American justice system".  

Wafi called on the French government to intervene on Moussaoui's behalf, but a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry said Paris could neither "intervene nor interfere" in the US court proceedings.  

Moussaoui, a 36-year-old French national of Moroccan descent, on Friday pleaded guilty to six conspiracy charges linked to the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.  

But he has also insisted that he was not to be one of the September 11 hijackers and that he was to take part in a later attack on the White House.  

Moussaoui admitted conspiracy to commit terrorism, to commit aircraft piracy, to destroy aircraft and to use weapons of mass destruction - charges which carry the death penalty. He also pleaded guilty in the US federal court to conspiracy to murder and to destroy property.  

He is the first person to face US charges over the attacks.   "France has something to say here, as this is not some immigrant, he was born in France. I don't see any way out unless France does something. It has something to say, even if its inquiry didn't turn up anything," El-Wafi said.  

But later, foreign ministry spokeswoman Cecile Pozzo di Borgo countered: "The French authorities reiterate that they can neither intervene nor interfere in ongoing judicial proceedings, whether abroad or in France."  

The spokeswoman said French consular officials were attending Moussaoui's hearings in the Alexandria, Virginia court and following the case closely.  

"My son was arrested on August 16, 2001 because his papers weren't in order, and on September 13 they said he was the 20th man in the September 11th attacks, but the 20th man is in Guantanamo," Wafi said, referring to the US military detention center at Guantanamo Bay.  

"He took flying lessons but he always said that he had nothing to do with September 11. They can't pin this on him," she told reporters.  

Moussaoui is the first Al-Qaeda conspirator to appear in a US civilian court over September 11. The others remain in US military custody.  

Denouncing her son's prison conditions, Wafi said: "I don't know what's in his head. He's sick of it all, he can't take it anymore and he decided to end it, one way or another."

© AFP

Subject: French News

 

 

 

 

 

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