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Moussaoui verdict

People keep saying things like the jury “spared his life” and that they decided “he didn’t deserve” to die, making it seem like the decision was favorable to Moussaoui. But I’m not so sure it is. Wouldn’t he have preferred to die immediately, to be martyred for his cause? Won’t he suffer more now, living out the rest of his life locked away from the rest of the world?

Moussaoui’s mother and Judge Leonie Brinkema seem to agree with me.

Brinkema firmly refused to be interrupted by the 37-year-old defendant as she disputed his claim that his life sentence meant America had lost and he had won.

“Mr. Moussaoui, when this proceeding is over, everyone else in this room will leave to see the sun … hear the birds … and they can associate with whomever they want,” she said.

She went on: “You will spend the rest of your life in a supermax prison. It’s absolutely clear who won.”

And she said it was proper he will be kept away from outsiders, unable to speak publicly again.

“Mr. Moussaoui, you came here to be a martyr in a great big bang of glory,” she said, “but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper.”

At that point, Moussaoui tried again to interrupt her, but she raised her voice and spoke over him.

“You will never get a chance to speak again and that’s an appropriate ending.”

[…]

Moussaoui’s mother Aicha El Wafi, pressed for her country to intervene, CBS News correspondent Elaine Cobbe reports. “Now he is going to die in little doses,” she said. “He is going to live like a rat in a hole. What for? They are so cruel.”

And so is he.