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9/11 trials

by ANANYA PRAKASH Staff Writer

The U.S. has finally started the prosecution of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged in the September 11 attacks, but the trial will not be starting anytime soon, and both sides said that the case could continue for years. “Years? It is already been 11 years since September 11!” said freshman Parth Patel. Mohammed and his co-defendants were ordered to stand trial before the Guantanamo military tribunal, which descended into chaos on as the defendants refused to acknowledge the judge or use the court’s translation system. One of the men was transported to the hearing strapped to a restraining chair after refusing to attend, and another demanded a lengthy reading of the charges. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Pakistani citizen who attended college in North Carolina, has confessed to military authorities that he was accountable for the September 11 attacks “from A to Z,” as well as about 30 other plots, and that he personally killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Ramzi bin al-Shibh was supposedly selected to be the hijacker, but could not get a U.S. visa, and ended up providing assistance such as finding flight schools. Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, a Pakistani national and nephew of Mohammed, apparently provided money to the hijackers. Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi is a Saudi accused of helping the hijackers with money, Western clothing, traveler’s checks, and credit cards. Walid bin Attash allegedly ran an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and studied flight simulators and timetables. The five men each also face 2,976 counts of murder representing the victims who died on September 11. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty for all of the men. None of the defendants chose to enter a plea at the hearing, and reserved it for a later appearance. The judge set a tentative trial date of May 2013, although he acknowledged that there are likely to be more delays. Defense lawyer James Connell said a tentative trial date of May 2013 is a “placeholder” until a true date can be set for the trial of Mohammed and his co-accused. “It is going to take time,” said the chief prosecutor Army Brigadier General Mark Martins, who anticipates a battle of defense motions before the case goes to trial. “The five men should be trialed soon because it has been more than a decade, and if I had a family member or friend that I lost on September 11, I would be outraged by the actions and delays cause by the accused men,” said freshman Brijesh Patel.

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