US prosecutors on Monday demanded that Al Qaeda fighter Zakarias Moussaoui be executed for his connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks. Moussaoui, the only defendant yet tried in a US courtroom for involvement in the attacks, allegedly concealed information from the FBI which could have prevented the tragedy.
His defense attorneys said that the death penalty was inappropriate, since the 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan heritage would then be seen as a martyr by his Al Qaeda colleagues.
They added that he did not deserve to be considered such a hero, according to the AFP.
“Please don’t make him a hero. He just doesn’t deserve it,” defense attorney Edward MacMahon said.
In April 2005, Moussaoui admitted to conspiring with Al Qaeda to fly airliners into US government buildings, but said that he was supposed to fly a jetliner into the White House in a follow-up attack, and not on September 11.
Lawyers for the US government said Moussaoui was in part responsible for the death of some 3,000 victims since he did not reveal to authorities Al Qaeda's plans though he was aware of them.
Moussaoui’s mother, Aicha El Wafi, watched events in the courtroom, and sobbed when she saw her son on a television screen.
Relatives of those killed in the September 11 strike also watched the courtroom developments on closed circuit television.
The trial is expected to last three months.