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Monday, September 20, 2021

Trial of Accused 9/11 Mastermind Restarts, Days Earlier than twentieth Anniversary of Assaults That Shook World

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The prosecution of alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 4 others restarts Tuesday, simply days earlier than the twentieth anniversary of the assaults, stirring new hopes for justice and retribution.

Mohammed and his co-defendants, who’ve been locked up on the “Warfare on Terror” jail on the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for almost 15 years, will seem within the army tribunal right here for the primary time since early 2019. 

However after a 17-month halt as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the proceedings seem prone to proceed the place they left off, mired within the protection’s efforts to disqualify a lot of the authorities’s proof as tainted by the torture the defendants underwent in CIA custody.

On Sunday, the brand new army choose, Air Power Colonel Matthew McCall  — the case’s eighth — signaled a sluggish begin, deciding that an preliminary listening to centered on his personal {qualifications} will happen on Tuesday. Attorneys for each side are allowed in a battle crimes tribunal to query a brand new choose for potential bias.

The remainder of the week will largely contain conferences with the army prosecutors and protection groups.

With scores of motions lined as much as demand proof that army prosecutors refuse at hand over, protection attorneys stated the pretrial part may simply final one other yr, inserting far over the horizon any hope for a jury trial and verdict.

Requested if the case may ever attain that time, one protection legal professional, James Connell, replied, “I don’t know.”

Lasting affect of torture

Attorneys say the 5 defendants — Mohammed, Ammar al-Baluchi, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Mustafa al-Hawsawi — are all weak and endure the lasting results of extreme torture endured in secretive CIA “black” websites between 2002 and 2006.

Added to that, the attorneys say, is the cumulative affect of 15 years in harsh, remoted circumstances since arriving. 

They are going to seem in an ultra-secure army commissions courtroom surrounded by fences of razor wire, every together with his personal protection group. 

Within the viewers can be members of the family of a few of the 2,976 individuals they’re accused of murdering 20 years in the past, in addition to a big contingent of reporters to mark the confluence with the somber anniversary on Saturday.

The 5 face the loss of life penalty on fees of homicide and terrorism within the battle crimes tribunal.

They’re represented by attorneys assigned by the army, in addition to pro-bono legal professionals from the personal sector and non-governmental organizations.

Open and shut?

Because the case began, prosecutors have regarded it as open-and-shut, even with out the contaminated data reaped from the brutal CIA interrogations.

As an alternative, prosecutors preserve that the defendants all offered stable proof of conspiring within the 9/11 assaults throughout so-called “clean-team” interrogations carried out by the FBI in 2007, after the 5 arrived at Guantanamo.

However protection attorneys argue that the 2007 interrogations have been hardly “clear” as a result of the FBI additionally took half within the CIA’s torture program, and their interrogations carried an identical menace.

The defendants, nonetheless feeling the affect of torture at the moment, spoke to the FBI below the actual worry that it might begin once more, the protection contends.

“Make no mistake, masking up torture is the explanation that these males have been dropped at Guantanamo” as an alternative of the US federal justice system, stated Connell, who represents Baluchi.

“The duvet-up of torture can also be the explanation that we’re all gathered at Guantanamo for the forty second listening to within the 9/11 army fee,” he stated.


To show their case, the protection is demanding enormous quantities of categorized supplies that the federal government is resisting turning over, on all the things from the unique torture program to circumstances at Guantanamo to well being assessments. 

Protection legal professionals additionally need to interview dozens extra witnesses, after 12 already appeared earlier than the court docket, together with two males who oversaw the CIA program.

The calls for have delayed the trial, however the protection blames the federal government for actively hiding supplies related to the case.

Alka Pradhan, one other protection legal professional, famous that it took the federal government six years to confess that the FBI took half within the CIA’s torture program. “This case wears you down,” she stated. “They’re withholding issues which are regular process in court docket.”

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