Saturday 29 April 2017

Military trial for September 11 suspects

Justin Blum in New York

THE Obama administration has reversed its plan to put the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks on trial in New York.

The case will instead now be sent to a military commission in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The decision on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators was described in papers filed in US District Court in Manhattan yesterday.

The military trial will be held at the notorious US base.

US President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder had previously pledged in 2009 to try the suspects in federal court in New York about a quarter of a mile from where the World Trade Center towers stood.

The administration said last year that it was reconsidering the decision after objections from lawmakers and New York officials. Congress restricted the administration's ability to transport the suspects from Guantanamo to the US for trial.

Justice

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, declined to discuss the decision at a briefing today in Washington.

"The president's primary concern here is that the accused perpetrators of that terrible attack on the American people be brought to justice as swiftly as possible and as fairly as possible," Mr Carney said.

Republican leaders said the September 11 suspects may pose a safety risk in New York and the alleged terrorists could be found not guilty on a legal technicality. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also said last year that he wanted the trial moved.

"While we would have provided security if we had to here in New York City, being spared the expense is good for us," Mr Bloomberg said yesterday at a news conference in the Bronx. "I happen to think that it's more appropriate to do it in a secured area with a military tribunal."

The September 11 attacks killed almost 3,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon outside Washington, and in the crash in Pennsylvania.

Irish Independent

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