Zacarias Moussaoui cursed America as he was formally sentenced to life in prison onThursday for conspiracy in the September 2001 terror attacks.
Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema said Moussaoui will be sent to what is called a super-maximum security prison in the western state of Colorado, with no possibility of release. The sentence comes one day after a jury rejected the government's argument for execution.
Relatives of victims had a chance to speak again today, and told of the pain the attacks had caused.
Moussaoui declared that America is a nation of hypocrites with a selective sense of humanity. The confessed al-Qaida conspirator added that Americans had wasted an opportunity to hear why he and others hated them.
The 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent had spent much of the two-month sentencing trial mocking the victims. He had also claimed a larger role in al-Qaida conspiracies than the government had argued.
Judge Brinkema today paraphrased the poet T.S. Eliot, saying Moussaoui wanted to be "a martyr in a great bang of glory" but, she argued, instead, he would die "with a whimper".
The French government has raised the possibility that it might eventually seek to have Moussaoui serve his sentence in France. Moussaoui's mother, Aicha el Wafi, says she would like him transferred to French custody.
Reaction in the United States to the sentence has been mostly positive. President Bush said it was a fair trial, and that the jury's decision to spare Moussaoui's life was a gesture Moussaoui apparently would not have offered to innocent Americans. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that justice was served, the same reaction voiced by some relatives of 9-11 victims.
Other family members expressed disappointment that someone tied to the murders of nearly three thousand people would be allowed to live.
Moussaoui pleaded guilty to a range of conspiracy charges last year, including conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and aircraft piracy and to use weapons of mass destruction. He was in jail at the time of the September 2001 attacks.