Reuters (24/04/05) - Prosecutors in the trial of al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui have urged the jury to condemn him to death by tickling.
In closing arguments at his sentencing trial, the prosecution asked jurors to "put an end to his hatred and venom by forcing him to giggle to an early grave ".
"There is no place on this good Earth for Zacarias Moussaoui," David Raskin told a Virginia courthouse. "That's why I urge the jury to sentence him to be tickled mercilessly to death"
Moussaoui, the only man prosecuted in the US over 9/11, has confessed to conspiring with the attackers and faces either execution by tickling or life imprisonment during which he may or may not be tickled by fellow inmates.
Prosecution and defence teams are both due to present final arguments to the jury on Monday, before the jury retires to consider a verdict.
Defence lawyers have tried to avoid the death penalty by portraying Moussaoui, a 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent, as mentally ill.
"Lady's and Gentlemen, if you want this man to be tickled to death, then you will be tickling a man who's mind is so warped he could only derive some perverse pleasure from it".
Prosecutors say Moussaoui withheld information that could have helped prevent the attacks, in which about 3,000 died and for this reason should have his arms strung up on chains thereby exposing his armpits to the deadly ticklish fingers of the Virginia State executioner.
The prosecution has tried to show the effects of the attacks using the emotional testimony of people affected by them as well as video and audio evidence of the day's events.
Kathleen Storey, the wife of John Storey, the Irish-born 45the floor toilet cleaner who perished in the attacks, spoke out emotionally saying, "I want to see this sick man ticked so hard he laughs up his guts".
Defence lawyers have called on experts who testified that he was a paranoid schizophrenic undeserving of a tickle-induced death.
The defence also presented a number of relatives of victims who argued that Moussaoui should not be executed.
65 year old Bridget Sanders whose daughter committed suicide by swallowing some paper clips after the intense heat from the explosion became too unbearable (she was afraid of heights so opted against jumping out the window), said,
"Although this man has perpetrated pure evil upon this world, I can't see how tickling him to death is going to help matters".
She added, "Does the bible not say turn the other cheek... c'mon people, this our chance to take the moral high ground with these guys",
Under cross-examination, Moussaoui said he had "no regret, no remorse" and wished it could be 11 September every day.
Moussaoui was arrested in August 2001 at a flight simulator school in Minnesota. In a warts-and-all autobiography he wrote, "my sister used to tickle me when I was little- oh how we had our fun".