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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
US jurors hear 9/11 cockpit tape
Flight 93 flight recorder found at crash site
Jurors were shown photos of wreckage from Flight 93
A chilling recording from inside the hijacked US airliner which crashed in Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001 has been played to an American jury.

Jurors in the sentencing trial of al-Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui heard hijackers speaking in Arabic and telling passengers to "shut up".

Air traffic controllers were also heard trying to contact Flight 93.

Prosecutors presented more witnesses and then rested their case. Moussaoui faces either life in jail or execution.

Please, please don't hurt me. Oh God, no more
Words on recording

The trial will resume on Thursday when the defence begins its arguments.

The cockpit recording was accompanied by a video presentation that simultaneously showed the flight path, altitude and speed of the plane.

After jurors were shown graphic images on Tuesday of people who burned to death in the al-Qaeda attack on the Pentagon, Moussaoui shouted to the court: "Burn all Pentagon next time."

The defence, which is expected to begin its case on Thursday, is likely to argue he is delusional and mentally ill.

'I don't want to die'

During the recording a voice can be heard saying, "Ah, here's the captain. We have a bomb aboard. We're going back to the airport. We'd like you to sit down and remain quiet".

Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
A memorial remains on the site where Flight 93 crashed in 2001

Then passengers are repeatedly told, "Don't move", "Shut up", "Sit down".

An air traffic voice can be heard asking: "Is that United [Airlines] 93 calling?"

Jurors were given a translation of the hijackers' words in Arabic. At one point, one of them says: "In the name of Allah, most merciful, most compassionate".

A voice in the cockpit can be heard saying, "Please, please don't hurt me. Oh God, no more" and, shortly afterwards, somebody says, "I don't want to die" three times.

Then there are what sound like groans in the cockpit and, a few minutes later as the plane turns back towards Washington, a voice in Arabic says: "Everything is fine. I've finished."

Then there are more shouts, alarms and banging noises as the passengers try to storm the cockpit.

As the recording was played, Zacarias Moussaoui leaned back in his chair listening intently and occasionally smiling.

US district judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that the recording - which had never been played in a public forum before - should not be broadcast outside the courtroom.

Relatives of those on board Flight 93 objected to their loved ones' last moments being made public.

Emotional evidence

The prosecution is hoping that presenting the jury with emotional evidence from the 11 September attacks will convince them to pass the death penalty.

Zacarias Moussaoui testifies at his sentencing trial
Moussaoui has said he planned to attack the White House

Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, is the only person charged in the US in connection with the attacks.

The jury deciding his fate has already declared him eligible for the death penalty.

Although he was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the attacks, jurors ruled that lies told by Moussaoui to federal agents kept them from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.

Defence lawyers say the jury should spare Moussaoui's life because of his limited role in the attacks, evidence of mental illness, and because his execution would only fulfil his dream of martyrdom.

Judge Brinkema has warned prosecutors that appeal judges could overturn a death sentence if they believed the prosecution evidence was overly prejudicial.

As a series of pictures of charred bodies from the Pentagon, which was rammed by another airliner, was displayed on a screen in the Washington courtroom on Tuesday, there were gasps from those watching.

Defence lawyers objected to the evidence but were overruled.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear about the chilling contents of the tape



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