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9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Appears Before Guantanamo Bay Judge 9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Appears Before Guantanamo Bay J...

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Defense

9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Appears Before Guantanamo Bay Judge

photo of Barrett Holmes  Pitner
May 5, 2012

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11, and his four co-defendants were arraigned before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay on charges that included 2,976 counts of murder for the 2001 attacks. 

This is the U.S. military's second attempt to try the five co-defendants, but the hearing became quickly bogged down by the actions of the defendants, according to the Associated Press.

One of the defendants, Walid bin Attash, was restrained in his chair for unspecified reasons, lawyers for all the defendants complained that the prisoners were not allowed to wear the civilian clothes of their choice, and Mohammed and the other codefendants refused to answer questions.

 

"One cannot choose not to participate and frustrate the normal course of business," said judge, Army Col. James Pohl.

At one point, Mohammed and his co-defendants removed their earphones which provided Arabic translations and refused to answer questions from Pohl.  Eventually, Pohl brought the translators into the courtroom to translate out loud, yet the prisoners still did not respond -- not even to acknowledge that they understood the questions.

This is "only the beginning of a trial that will take years to complete, followed by years of appellate review," said attorney James Connell, who represents defendant Ali Abd al-Aziz. 

"I can't imagine any scenario where this thing gets wrapped up in six months," said Connell.

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