We believe the jury did well in deciding on a life-in-prison sentence for Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted al-Qaeda conspirator in the Sept. 11 attacks.
For those who would say that he deserves death for his part in the murder of 3,000 innocent citizens, a belief held by some family members of the victims, there is some validity to that argument.
But suppose that’s what he wanted and suppose there is a fate worse than death.
Moussaoui obviously wanted to die. He fought his lawyers at every turn in his trial, claiming they were not representing him as he wished. He refused to cooperate with the court, and he made a show of his inhumanity.
The French terrorist of Moroccan descent seemed more like a professional wrestling villain than a real person. He certainly wasn’t concerned with trying to save his life, and as his defense stated during the trial, it is evident he was using the trial to achieve infamy and martyrdom.
And to those worried that he won’t suffer enough, rest assured that the prison in Florence, Colo., where he is headed is no resort. It holds the Guinness World Record for the most secure prison. It’s a place where the “worst behaved men could serve an entire sentence – decades – in isolation,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The cell is comprised entirely of poured concrete, including desks and beds, and meals are generally shoved through slots in doors, according to the article. Those subjected to such confinement “begin to lose memory, can’t concentrate and suffer severe panic attacks,” a psychologist told the newspaper.
Whether or not the members of the jury saw this bigger picture, they made the right decision. The death penalty would allow Moussaoui to go out in a blaze of glory and perpetuate a myth seemingly held in the Middle East that America is anti-Arab, anti-Islam and savage.
Instead, this will serve as an anti-climactic and merciful end – exactly what Moussaoui didn’t want.