Mastermind of 9/11 attacks to face trial
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Mohammed has been held for years at the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay. AFP photoU.S. officials cleared the way yesterday for a long-delayed trial of the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and four alleged plotters, unveiling charges that carry a possible death sentence.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his accused conspirators have been held for years at the U.S.-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while a legal and political battle has played out over how and where to prosecute them. “The charges allege that the five accused are responsible for the planning and execution of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York and Washington DC, and Shanksville, Pa., resulting in the killing of 2,976 people,” the Defense Department said in a statement. If convicted before a military tribunal, “the five accused could be sentenced to death,” it said.
More than a decade after the attacks that jolted the American pysche, “it is important to see that justice is done,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. After taking office in 2009, Obama initially sought to hold trial for Mohammed and his four accused accomplices in civilian court in New York. But the proposal sparked criticism and the president’s Republican foes in Congress put an end to those plans by blocking the transfer of terror suspects to the U.S.