USA: KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED, 4 OTHERS CHARGED IN 9/11 ATTACK
April 4, 2012: Pentagon approves 9/11 death penalty tribunal. Retired Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald, in charge of military commissions, signed off on the capital trial against alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 46, and 4 others accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, killing 2,976 people.
If convicted, the Guantanamo Bay prisoners could be sentenced to death.
The suspects were 1st charged in a military commission in 2008, but the case was suspended after the Obama administration came into office and later moved to have them tried in federal court in New York. That effort collapsed in the face of congressional and local opposition.
In April 2011, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that he was reluctantly sending the case back to the military. Charged along with Mohammed are Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, a Pakistani who is Mohammedâs nephew; Ramzi Binalshibh and Walid bin Attash, both Yemenis; and Mustafa al-Hawsawi, a Saudi.
The decision drew a rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union, which has funded some of the 9/11 defense lawyers.
The Obama Administration âis making a terrible mistake by prosecuting the most important terrorism trials of our time in a 2nd-tier system of justice,â said Anthony Romero, the ACLU executive director. He said the war court was âset up to achieve easy convictions and hide the reality of torture, not to provide a fair trial.â âWhatever verdict comes out of the GuantĂĄnamo military commissions will be tainted by an unfair process and the politics that wrongly pulled these cases from federal courts, which have safely and successfully handled hundreds of terrorism trials.â All 5 men were interrogated by the CIA in secret overseas prisons â Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, according to declassified CIA documents â before their 2006 transfer to GuantĂĄnamo for trial. Once in Cuba, he bragged to a panel of U.S. military officers that he was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks âfrom A to Z.â (Source: Washington Post, Miami Herald, 04/04/2012)