Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, others to face death penalty trial
Apr 4, 2012, 18:55 GMT
Washington - The accused mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and four other detainees could face the death penalty after the United States referred charges against the men to a military commission Wednesday.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, his nephew Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al-Hawsawi will face a series of terrorism charges before the military commission at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mohammed was a key al-Qaeda leader when he was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and transferred to US custody.
The men were charged last May and the move Wednesday sets the trial process in motion. They must now be arraigned within 30 days, but no date has yet been set, the Pentagon said.
The charges against them include conspiracy, murder, hijacking, terrorism, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property, the Pentagon said. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.
'It has been more than 10 years since 9/11,' White House spokesman Jay Carney said. 'And the president is committed to ensuring that those who are accused of perpetrating the 9/11 attacks against the United States be brought to justice.'
Charges were originally brought against the five suspects during the administration of former president George W Bush, but were dropped after President Barack Obama took office. The Obama administration wanted to transfer the case to civilian courts as part of the effort to close Guantanamo, but relented after running into strong congressional opposition.
As the military commissions move forward, Carney stressed that the US remains committed to closing the Guantanamo prison despite obstacles imposed by Congress.
'In the meantime, we have to ensure that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others who are accused of these heinous crimes are brought to justice. And this procedure is now under way to ensure that that happens,' he said.
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