5 Jan 2010

9/11 conspirator loses appeal

10:41 am on 5 January 2010

An appeals court has upheld the conviction and sentence of a man convicted for his part in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Zacarias Moussaoui is the only person charged in the US over the 2001 attacks on New York's World Trade Center and sites in Washington DC. He had originally pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

In 2005 he was sentenced to life in prison for his role in planning the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, the BBC reports.

The appeals court in Virginia rejected his claim that his conviction was invalid as the government had failed to provide evidence he could have used in defence.

"We affirm Moussaoui's convictions and sentences in their entirety," it ruled.

Moussaoui is serving his life sentence in a super-maximum federal security prison in Colorado.

At his original trial, he had testified that his role was to hijack a fifth plane and crash it into the White House.

But, after suspicions were raised by an instructor at a flight school in Minnesota, he was arrested several weeks before the attacks.

During the trial, the jury in Virginia ruled that Moussaoui's lies to US investigators after he was arrested led directly to at least one death on September 11.