Sept 11 accused removed from own trial

Proclaiming: “I am al-Qaida!”, Zacharias Moussaoui was escorted from a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia today at the outset of jury selection in his terrorist conspiracy trial.

Moussaoui, held for more than four years in the Alexandria Jail, is appearing in the heavily guarded courtroom a few miles from the Pentagon, one of the targets of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Moussaoui is the only person charged in the US in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks – the deadliest in US history. Nearly 3,000 Americans died when 19 al-Qaida hijackers crashed four planes into New York’s World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

As he was removed by federal marshals, he shouted: “This trial is a circus.”

The acknowledged al-Qaida conspirator, often a volatile figure in the courtroom, got almost immediately into an argument with US District Judge Leonie Brinkema, demanding: “I want to be heard” and saying of his lawyers: “These people do not represent me.”

He left with his hands on his head, offering no resistance.

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