The Mother of the Alleged 20th Hijacker Talks: Two Months Before Zacarias Moussaoui Goes On Trial Evidence Emerges That Indicates the U.S. May Have the Wrong Man

StoryNovember 01, 2002
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Court papers made public yesterday by a federal judge provide a glimpse into what government officials say is a fierce, and previously secret, courtroom battle in which Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker, has demanded access to captured figures of Al Qaeda whose testimony might help his defense. This according to the New York Times.

The Times report continues:

“The papers, which were filed by Mr. Moussaoui two weeks ago and initially kept under seal, show that he demanded and received access to a videotape of an interview on the Al Jazeera television network with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a young Yemeni man who has been identified by prosecutors as an organizer of the Sept. 11 attacks…

“According to news accounts of the Al Jazeera interview, Mr. bin al-Shibh boasted about his involvement in planning the Sept. 11 attacks, suggesting that he was supposed to be the 20th suicide hijacker.

“But the news reports suggested that Mr. bin al-Shibh made no mention of Mr. Moussaoui, which could bolster Mr. Moussaoui’s claim that he had nothing to do with the attacks.

“Within days of the broadcast of the interview, Mr. bin al-Shibh was captured in Pakistan and turned over to American custody, opening the door for Mr. Moussaoui and his court-appointed lawyers to demand access to Mr. bin al-Shibh. They cited Mr. Moussaoui’s constitutional right to witnesses who might prove his innocence.

“Federal law enforcement officials say the capture of Mr. bin al-Shibh has created a dilemma for prosecutors, since the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency have refused to make him and other Qaeda figures available for defense interviews even though that could mean scuttling the case against Mr. Moussaoui.”

Zacarias Moussaoui’s case is expected to go to trial in January.

Today in our studio we talk to Moussaoui’s mother, Aicha El Wafi, who is visiting from France. She visited Moussaoui twice this week. He has been held in solitary confinement since August 2001.


  • Aicha El Wafi, mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker.

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