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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other '9/11 plotters' in court
2 years ago

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other '9/11 plotters' in court

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, photographed at Guantanamo Bay in 2009
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has claimed responsibility for planning the 9/11 attacks

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks have appeared before a US military tribunal at Guantanamo to be charged.

 

The hearing had an uncertain start, with suspects refusing to answer questions. Breaking their silence, one demanded to speak now saying Americans might kill him during the trial.

 

An earlier attempt to try the five in a civilian court was halted in 2009.

 

Newly-introduced rules include a ban on evidence obtained under torture.

 

But defence lawyers still say the Guantanamo trial system lacks legitimacy because of restricted access to their clients.

 

The defendants are accused of planning and executing the attacks of 11 September 2001, which saw hijacked planes strike New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania and left a total of 2,976 people dead.

 

They face charges including terrorism, hijacking, conspiracy, and murder.

 

A small number of victims' relatives are attending Saturday's hearing at the military complex.

 

Outburst

Self-proclaimed 9/11 "mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is being tried with four others - Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi.

Edward Bracken: 'I'm going to see the people that killed my sister face-to-face'[video]

 

Proceedings were delayed as one of the defendants, Waleed bin Attash, appeared in court while restrained in his chair. The restraints were later removed after defence counsel had given assurances that he would "behave".

 

Another defendant, Ramzi Binalshibh, knelt and prayed for several minutes.

 

Mohammed, wearing a white turban and a flowing beard, refused to answer the judge's questions. His lawyer said he believed Mohammed was not responding because he believes the tribunal is unfair.

 

The hearing was further delayed when all the defendants refused to wear the earphones that provide translation into Arabic.

 

It later resumed with an Arabic translator present in court - ensuring that the accused could follow proceedings.

 

Ramzi Binalshibh eventually attempted to address the court. When told by the judge he could speak later he replied: "Maybe you're not going to see us any more. Maybe they will kill me and say I committed suicide."

 

The five are expected to be asked to enter a plea for the first time. The charges can carry the death penalty.

 

The decision to hold a military rather than a civilian trial remains controversial and follows a lengthy legal wrangle over where the five men would face justice.

 

One of the defendants' lawyers, James Connell, predicted the trial would take years to complete.

 

Page 1 

2 years ago

Torture claim

 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is of Pakistani origin but was born in Kuwait, was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and transferred to the Guantanamo base in Cuba in 2006.

 

During an earlier, controversial attempt to try him before a military tribunal in 2008, he said he intended to plead guilty and would welcome martyrdom.

 

In 2009 the Obama administration, which is pledged to close Guantanamo, tried to move the trial into US civilian courts, but reversed its decision in 2011 after widespread opposition.

 

The five were eventually charged in June 2011 with offences similar to those they were accused of by the Bush administration.

 

The Pentagon has previously said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted he was responsible "from A to Z" for the 9/11 attacks.

 

US prosecutors allege that he was involved with a host of other terrorist activities.

 

These include the 2002 nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl and a failed 2001 attempt to blow up an airliner using a shoe bomb.

 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has alleged that he was repeatedly tortured during his detention in Cuba.

 

CIA documents confirm that he was subjected to simulated drowning, known as waterboarding, 183 times.

 

Who are the suspects?

  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the most high profile of the suspects, has allegedly admitted to masterminding the 9/11 attacks and others. Captured in 2003, he has been at Guantanamo Bay since 2006
  • Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni who allegedly helped locate flights schools for the hijackers
  • Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali allegedly helped nine of the hijackers enter the US
  • Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, of Saudi Arabia, is said to have helped set up some of the hijackers with money, clothes and credit cards
  • Waleed bin Attash, a Yemeni, is said to have been a bodyguard to Osama Bin Laden and trained some 9/11 hijackers
Chaotic start to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Guantanamo trial
2 years ago

 

5 May 2012 Last updated at 21:52

Chaotic start to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Guantanamo trial

Sketch by courtroom artists of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during the arraignment hearing in Guantanamo, 5 May.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed remained silent in court

The first appearance of five leading 9/11 suspects before a military tribunal at the US base at Guantanamo Bay has been marked by hectic scenes.

 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the 2001 attacks refused to respond to questions.

 

One launched into a defiant outburst, suggesting the Americans might kill him before the end of the trial.

 

The five are facing charges including hijacking, terrorism and murder over the attacks in which 2,976 people died.

 

They are being tried by a military tribunal after an attempt to transfer them to a US civilian court in 2009 failed in the face of a public outcry and Congressional opposition.

 

Newly introduced rules include a ban on evidence obtained under torture. But defence lawyers still say the Guantanamo trial system lacks legitimacy because of restricted access to their clients.

 

The defendants are accused of planning and executing the attacks of 11 September 2001, which saw hijacked planes strike New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

 

The charges can carry the death penalty.

 

A small number of victims' relatives attended Saturday's hearing at the military complex.

 

'So hard'

 

Self-proclaimed 9/11 "mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is being tried with Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi.

 

The arraignment hearing - in which the defendants are read the charges against them - was first delayed when Waleed bin Attash arrived in court restrained in his chair.

 

The restraints were later removed after defence counsel had given assurances that he would "behave".

 

Another defendant, Ramzi Binalshibh, knelt and prayed for several minutes.

 

Mohammed, wearing a white turban and a flowing beard, refused to answer the judge's questions. His lawyer said he was refusing to listen to the judge in protest at his alleged torture in custody and because he believed the tribunal was unfair.

 

The hearing was further delayed when all the defendants refused to wear the earphones that provide translation into Arabic.

 

It later resumed with an Arabic translator present in court - ensuring that the accused could follow proceedings.

 

Ramzi Binalshibh eventually attempted to address the court. When told by the judge he could speak later he replied: "Maybe you're not going to see us any more. Maybe they will kill me and say I committed suicide."

 

The judge, Col James Pohl, struggled to keep the proceedings on track. "Why is this so hard?" he asked at one point.

 

The decision to hold a military rather than a civilian trial remains controversial and follows a lengthy legal wrangle over where the five men would face justice. 

 

One of the defendants' lawyers, James Connell, predicted the trial would take years to complete.

 

Page 1 

 



This post was modified from its original form on 05 May, 14:43
2 years ago

Torture claim

 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is of Pakistani origin but was born in Kuwait, was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and transferred to the Guantanamo base in Cuba in 2006.

 

During an earlier attempt to try him before a military tribunal in 2008, he said he intended to plead guilty and would welcome martyrdom.

 

In 2009 the Obama administration, which pledged to close Guantanamo, tried to move the trial to New York, but reversed its decision in 2011 after widespread opposition.

 

The five were eventually charged in June 2011 with offences similar to those they were accused of by the Bush administration.

 

The Pentagon has previously said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted he was responsible "from A to Z" for the 9/11 attacks.

 

US prosecutors allege that he was involved with a host of other terrorist activities.

 

These include the 2002 nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl and a failed 2001 attempt to blow up an airliner using a shoe bomb.

 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has alleged that he was repeatedly tortured during his detention in Cuba.

 

CIA documents confirm that he was subjected to simulated drowning, known as waterboarding, 183 times.

 

Page 2     http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17966362

9/11 hearing proceeds in bite-sized chunks
2 years ago

6 May 2012 Last updated at 13:28

 

 

9/11 hearing proceeds in bite-sized chunks
9/11 defendants pray in courtroom at Guantanamo Bay
All five defendants joined in courtroom prayer
The first Guantanamo hearing for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused over the 9/11 attacks turned into a series of disputes between defendants, lawyers and the court, writes the BBC's Steve Kingstone.
As courtroom dramas go, this one veered wildly between suspense, tragedy, farce and black comedy. 
Early in the hearing, one of the accused, Ramzi Binalshibh, got up from his chair and began to pray.
"When detainees stand up, the guards get excited," observed the judge, Col James Pohl, with studied understatement. Proceedings were interrupted for several minutes as the defendant continued his prayer, kneeling on the courtroom floor. 
Another alleged terrorist, Waleed bin Attash, had begun the day restrained in his chair.
"Can I assume he was not coming here voluntarily today?" asked Judge Pohl drily. With the defendant apparently in discomfort and unable to reach his headphones, his defence lawyer offered a guarantee. 
"He has assured me he will not misbehave if the restraints are removed," explained Captain Michael Schwartz. The judge concurred.
Testing the limits
Before long, however, it was clear that none of the accused was wearing the court-supplied headphones providing simultaneous Arabic translation.
After a recess, the judge accepted the prosecution's offer to bring an interpreter physically into the court, to relay proceedings aloud in Arabic. "We'll have to do this in bite-sized chunks," Judge Pohl advised. 
Therein followed several hours of painfully slow legal back-and-forth.
First, over whether the defendants recognised their court-appointed defence lawyers.
Next, whether civilian lawyers were suitably prepared to assist to the defence, in a military case that could carry the death penalty.
And finally, over whether Judge Pohl was sufficiently removed from the events of 9/11 to oversee the biggest terror trial of our times.
He was asked by defence lawyers to confirm that none of his family had been killed or injured in the attacks.
At one point during the morning, the video feed to watching reporters was briefly cut, as the hearing took a turn towards matters considered sensitive or classified.
Such interruptions have been strongly challenged by the defence and human rights groups, who call them censorship.
When the feed resumed, we were given clues as to what had transpired. "The warning light went off because the word 'torture' was used," observed David Nevin, the civilian lawyer for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Page 1   
2 years ago

Tiny acts of resistance

 

All of which presents the defendants with a problem.
If, as appears to be the case, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wants to argue that this entire process lacks legitimacy because he was water-boarded before being brought to Guantanamo, he will want the world to know about it.
But unless the rules are changed, the details may never become public.
The alleged mastermind of 11 September spent much of the day hunched over a desk, looking older than his 47 years.
His silent defiance was a far cry from past theatrics here. In previous appearances he had boasted of having plotted 9/11 "from A to Z," proclaimed that he wished to die a martyr, and even ordered a court sketch artist to redraw his nose. This time, acts of resistance were small and presented through lawyers. David Nevin, representing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, complained that his client had not been allowed to wear the clothes he had brought for him.
Instead, the Guantanamo authorities had stripped-searched the defendants, then supplied them with white Pakistani-style dress.
Virtually all the defence lawyers chipped in with criticism, collectively implying that the enforced dress code was a control tactic.
Long after night fell, the session ended with a formal reading of the charge sheet, which details the steps these men allegedly took to plan mass murder. It also lists the 2,976 people killed on 11 September 2001, some of whom had relatives watching in court.
Several had told me they were here to bear witness to justice. But even if this court is to offer closure, on this day's evidence it will be a long time coming.


This post was modified from its original form on 06 May, 21:53
Lawyers say 9/11 hearing protected by 'veil of secrecy'
2 years ago

6 May 2012 Last updated at 17:53

 

Lawyers say 9/11 hearing protected by 'veil of secrecy'

Court sketch of Walid Bin Attash, (L) and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad
Lawyers for Walid Bin Attash, (L) and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad say they are not allowed to discuss torture with their clients

Defence lawyers for five men accused of plotting the 11 September 2001 attacks have challenged the fairness of the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.

 

The defendants, who include the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were formally charged with murder and other offences on Saturday.

 

None of the defendants has yet entered a formal plea, and during the hearing they mostly remained silent.

 

The men's lawyers say the court is censoring evidence of torture.

 

The defence counsel at Guantanamo are a mix of military and civilian lawyers.

 

At a joint news conference they complained of what they called "assembly line justice" protected by a "veil of secrecy".

 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was repeatedly water-boarded secret CIA prisons before being brought to Guantanamo.

 

His lawyer, David Nevin, said "everything is being done to prevent this [tribunal] from being fair".

 

Torture

Our correspondent Steve Kingstone, who is attending the tribunal, says that under court rules the lawyers are forbidden from discussing torture with their clients.

 

Mr Nevin characterised that as a form of "thought police."

 

The lawyer for another defendant, Walid Bin Attash, said her client had begun removing his shirt in court to show "scars on his arms".

 

"We are hoping to address that with the court to help him get a fair hearing on that," Cheryl Bormann told reporters.

 

"Of course, the fact that the hearings themselves aren't transparent and aren't fair, means that we'll probably be constrained on what we can say on that as well."

 

James Connell, who is representing Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, said "These men have endured years of inhumane treatment and torture. This treatment has had serious long-term effects and will ultimately infect every aspect of this military commission tribunal."

 

The tribunal will reconvene next month, but several defence lawyers expressed doubts as whether the case would ever come to full trial.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17975317

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