Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Moussaoui trial.

I find the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui very troubling.

First, because I am not convinced that there was causal link between Moussaoui and the sept. 11 attacks. It is not clear how involved Moussaou was in the plans and his statement that he was supposed to fly a fifth plane is unconvincing.

The jury, however, has held that Moussaoui was part of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, and this question of fact I cannot dispute, as I do not know the evidence presented to the jury.

Secondly, because Moussaoui might receive a death sentence for the act of lying. According to this article by the New York Times, Moussaoui would be eligible for the death penalty if: "he was over 18 at the time; that he had deliberately taken some action (lying to investigators); that he had done so contemplating that deaths would occur; and that at least one death had occurred because of his lies."

It is not an offence in some legal systems to lie when you are charged with a crime. Moussaoui lied and withheld information when in FBI custody, although it is not clear he was actually charged with a crime at that time. His act of lying, for which he might be executed, would therefore possibly not be criminal in other countries.

It can be debated whether defendants should allowed to lie or not, but it seem grotesque to execute a person who withholds information and tells untruths when under arrest.


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