USA - Plea negotiations could mean 9/11 defendants will not face the death penalty
|USA - September 11 (Courtesy of Michael Foran)
August 23, 2023:
(August 23, 2023) - Plea negotiations could mean no 9/11 defendants face the death penalty, the US tells families----Plea agreements under consideration may mean that the suspected architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and his fellow defendants never face the death penalty
The suspected architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and his fellow defendants may never face the death penalty under plea agreements now under consideration to bring an end to their more than decadelong prosecution, the Pentagon has advised families of some of the thousands killed.
The notice, made in a letter that was sent to several of the families and obtained by The Associated Press, comes 1 1/2 years after military prosecutors and defense lawyers began exploring a negotiated resolution to the case.
The prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 4 others held at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been troubled by repeated delays and legal disputes, especially over the legal ramifications of the interrogation under torture that the men initially underwent while in CIA custody. No trial date has been set.
“The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has been negotiating and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements,” or PTAs, the letter said. It told the families that while no plea agreement “has been finalized, and may never be finalized, it is possible that a PTA in this case would remove the possibility of the death penalty."
Some relatives of the nearly 3,000 people killed outright in the terror attacks expressed outrage over the prospect of ending the case short of a verdict. The military prosecutors pledged to take their views into consideration and present them to the military authorities who would make the final decision on accepting any plea agreement.
The letter, dated Aug. 1, was received by at least some of the family members only last week. It asked them to respond by Monday to the Department of Defense victims' services division with any comments or questions about the possibility of such a plea agreement.
The 9/11 hearings have been on hold while military officials examine whether one of the defendants is competent to stand trial. Hearings are set to resume Sept. 18.
The 5 defendants were captured at various times and places in 2002 and 2003 and sent to Guantanamo for trial in 2006.
The case has played out with a changing series of defense lawyers and judges, all grappling with the legalities and logistics of the military trial. Much of the hearings have been mired in litigation over how much of the testimony should be considered inadmissible by the torture that defendants underwent in early CIA custody, including the waterboarding of Mohammed 183 times.
https://apnews.com/article/guantanamo-911-defendants-76fab68b1faa1a7e1634b10951258710 (Source: Associated Press, 23/08/2023)