Trial Date Set For 5 Men Charged In 9/11 Terrorist Attacks – NPR

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, seen shortly after his capture during a 2003 raid in Pakistan, is accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

AP


hide caption

toggle caption

AP

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, seen shortly after his capture during a 2003 raid in Pakistan, is accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

AP

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

For the first time, a U.S. military court judge in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has set a trial date for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four men charged with plotting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Judge W. Shane Cohen, an Air Force colonel who took over the case in June, said the trial should begin on Jan. 11, 2021, though a number of other deadlines would need to be met for the long-delayed trial to begin.

That includes the U.S. government turning over all evidence it is required to give to defense attorneys. Lawyers for the five defendants say prosecutors have not been forthcoming.

Several defense attorneys told NPR they think the scheduled trial date is unrealistic, and they say Guantánamo isn’t physically ready for a trial of that magnitude. But prosecutors have been asking for a trial date for several years and say that finally having one will motivate all parties to meet the deadline.

Dozens of pretrial hearings already have been held in the case. The lawyers involved fly to Guantánamo for hearings that usually last a few days. When the hearing ends, the court is typically adjourned for a couple of months.

The complicated nature of the case, combined with these logistical challenges, has led to the repeated delays.

Hearings are planned for next month, where defense attorneys will try to bar confessions made by defendants to FBI agents in 2006. The lawyers are arguing that any confessions were tainted by harsh interrogations carried out by the CIA in the early days of the detentions.

The five accused were picked up in Pakistan in 2002 and 2003.

The Sept. 11 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the attacks, and his four co-defendants are charged with war crimes punishable by death for allegedly helping 19 airliner hijackers carry out the plot nearly two decades ago.

Of the nearly 800 men sent to Guantánamo during the George W. Bush administration, 40 remain today. One prisoner has been released during President Trump’s time in office, and no new suspects have been sent there.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a Yemeni prisoner held without being charged at Guantánamo for more than 17 years.

But Justice Stephen Breyer said in a two-page statement that “it is past time to confront the difficult questions” surrounding the indefinite detention of prisoners there.

Comments

Write a Reply or Comment:

Your email address will not be published.*