Next 9/11 Guantanamo hearing postponed to August 8
WASHINGTON: The next preliminary hearing for five men accused in the September 11 terror strike on US targets, which was scheduled for June 12, has been postponed to August 8, a Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday.
Attorneys for two of the accused asked military Judge James Pohl, who is in charge of the case, to push back the hearing on a number of defense appeals to August 8-12, said James Connell, lawyer for Pakistan national Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali. Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale confirmed the delay.
Confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 47, has been charged along with Ali, his Pakistani nephew, who is also known as Ammar al-Baluchi; Mustapha al-Hawsawi of Saudi Arabia; and Yemenis Ramzi Binalshibh and Walid bin Attash.
The five face the death penalty if convicted for their roles in the terror attacks in which hijacked civilian airliners were used to strike New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,976 people.
The defendants were charged with “conspiracy, attacking civilians, murder and violation of the law of war, destruction, hijacking and terrorism” in connection with the attacks, the most lethal on US soil in modern history.
The 9/11 case marks the second time the United States has tried to prosecute the suspects under the military commissions system, after the proceedings were put on hold as President Barack Obama sought to bring the case to a federal court in New York.
But Obama faced stiff opposition in Congress, where lawmakers prevented his administration from transferring detainees from the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in southeastern Cuba to the United States. The stalemate also scuttled Obama’s plans to shutter the detention center, where 169 detainees remain.