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Judge Sentences Moussaoui to Life in Prison

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- An unrepentant Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, warning Americans in his final public words that they would never catch Osama bin Laden.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema at the end of a two-month trial in which the jury rejected the government's case to have Moussaoui executed.

"God save Osama bin Laden -- you will never get him," Moussaoui declared moments after walking into the courtroom flashing a victory sign.

"You have branded me as a terrorist or a criminal or whatever," he said. "Look at yourselves. I fight for my belief." He spoke for less than five minutes; the judge told him he could not use his sentencing to make a political speech.

Barring an unforeseen circumstance, Moussaoui then will be sent to a maximum federal prison in Colorado under special conditions that will prevent him from having any contact with the outside world.

French authorities said Thursday they may eventually press the United States to have Moussaoui serve his life sentence in France under two conventions on the transfer of convicts. They were waiting to hear the conditions of his sentencing.

Moussaoui's mother, Aicha El Wafi, pressed for her country to intervene. "My son will be buried alive because France didn't dare contradict the Americans," she said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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