The 5 Accused 9/11 Plotters: Who Are They?
Five men accused of masterminding or facilitating the 9/11 terror attacks are headed back to a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay on Saturday, after the Obama administration withdrew an effort to try the al Qaeda operatives in a civilian court in New York City.
All five are accused of conspiring to organize, train or transfer funds to the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 plot, and are each charged with killing 2,976 people. Among the charges: Conspiracy, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, murder in violation of the law of war, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, hijacking or hazarding a vessel or aircraft, and terrorism.
If convicted, each faces the death penalty.
The chief defendant is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the purported mastermind of 9/11 who told military authorities he was responsible for the operation’s planning “from A to Z.” While Mohammed and others on trial had previously said they would plead guilty and welcome death as martyrs, they are now expected to fight the charges.
The arraignment Saturday, before an audience that includes a handful of people who lost family members in the Sept. 11 attacks as well as journalists and human rights observers, will be followed by a hearing on a series of defense motions that challenge the charges and the extreme secrecy rules imposed to prevent the release of information about U.S. counterterrorism methods and strategy. [The start of their actual trial is at least a year away.]
News cameras are not permitted inside the courtroom, where the media and other observers are kept behind double-paned, soundproof glass.