Photo: AP Photo / Marty Lederhandler
Twelve years after America’s darkest day in living memory, the accused masterminds behind 9/11 have been charged for planning and executing the attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.The Department of defence says Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged leader, and four other men could be sentenced to death.
The Office of Military Commissions has referred charges of terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.
President Obama tried last year to prosecute the militants in a trial before a civilian jury in New York City, but was blocked by Republican lawmakers who demanded the suspects be tried before a military court at Guantanamo Bay. The five men will now be prosecuted in a joint trial and will hear their charges read out in military court within the next 30 days.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was hunted down in Pakistan and arrested by the CIA and FBI in 2003 when an infamous photo from his arrest was splashed across the media. Since 2006, he has been detained at Guantanamo Bay. CIA documents confirm he was waterboarded 183 times.
Mohammed is also said to be involved with the video-taped murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and beheaded in 2002 after going to Pakistan to retrace the steps of “shoe bomber” Richard Reid — a failed 2001 attempt to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 with a shoe bomb. Mohammed is alleged to have been involved in that as well.
The BBC also reports the Pentagon previously said Mohammed admitted he was responsible “from A to Z” for the 9/11 attacks. He has said that he intended to plead guilty and would welcome martyrdom.
The case of “United States v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin ‘Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi” is a beacon of justice for the 2,976 people killed on 9/11.
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