United States military trial of 9/11 suspects drags out twenty years after attack

Al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shortly after his capture Al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed soon after his capture

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the supposed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, together with 4 co-defendants appeared in a military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay today for the very first time because the coronavirus pandemic started.

The aging Mohammed, now 57 years of ages, his long beard tinted orange, smiled and gestured with his 4 co-defendants all kept outside the courtroom in seclusion at the high-security United States jail.

The 5 are implicated of war criminal activities in the September 11 airplane hijackings that led to the deaths of 2,976 individuals.

A brand-new military judge has actually been appointed to the trial, formerly anticipated to begin in 2022 and now most likely to be more postponed as legal representatives for the defense prepare to assault the legal structure of the military commission.

“These proceedings are grotesquely substandard under notions of due process, international law, and … regard for the dignity of human beings,” stated Gary Sowards, who took the lead on Mohammed’s defense in 2019.

Mohammed’s legal group would be submitting a series of movements created to challenge the authenticity of the military commissions and expose the CIA’s abuse of Mohammed and other detainees, Sowards stated on Wednesday.

Indicative of the dirty outlook, the brand-new judge, United States Air Force Lt Col Matthew McCall, guaranteed legal representatives in Guantanamo today that he has no strategies to leave the bench when he ends up being qualified to retire in 3 years.

“I don’t feel the need to rush to try to get this case done on my watch. I’m going to be here,” McCall, now age 50, stated today.

McCall is the 4th judge appointed to the case and is still “trying to get up to speed” on its checkered history, he stated.

Human rights supporters state the trial is so laden with legal challenges it might never ever reach a satisfying conclusion.

“Most families are awaiting justice and the reason they are waiting is that the military commission, and Guantanamo itself, are so fundamentally flawed they cannot provide any semblance of justice,” stated Andrea Prasow, deputy director at Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC.

The military commissions at Guantanamo were developed by previous President George W Bush in 2001 to prosecute detainees implicated of arranging the September 11 and other attacks outside the bounds of United States criminal law.

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The United States Navy base at Guantanamo is on the island of Cuba, where prisoners do not have the majority of the defenses of United States law and where succeeding administrations have actually declined to use worldwide conventions.

Now, procedures versus Mohammed and the 4 other supposed co-conspirators are enmeshed in a legal nether zone, captured in between United States military and criminal legal precedents and made complex by the CIA’s abuse of the implicated.

“The problem is we’ve just created entirely new rules. There’s still debate over questions like does the Constitution and Bill of Rights apply,” stated Jonathan Hafetz, a teacher at Seton Hall University Law School who has actually promoted returning the case to United States federal courts.

“You’ll see more delays, more uncertainty, more dysfunction because the United States is pressing on a failed experiment of military commissions,” Hafetz informed Al Jazeera.

Ongoing federal government secrecy around the CIA interrogations of the 5 guys, more than 500,000 pages of proof kept under seal, and the tribunal’s separated setting at the Guantanamo jail even more avoid a reasonable procedure.

In 2009, previous President Barack Obama assured to close the jail at Guantanamo and after that-Attorney General Eric Holder directed the trial of the 5 September 11 accuseds transferred to federal court in New York City.

But public reaction and political pressure from Congress required Obama to pull back on the strategy to carry out the trial in the United States rather of Cuba, and after a two-and-half-year time out, procedures went back to the military tribunal in Guantanamo.

“The rot at all of it is torture,” stated Scott Roehm, director of the Washington, DC, workplace of the Center for Victims of Torture, a non-governmental advocacy group.

“Guantanamo should never have been stood up in the first place. Its animating philosophy was creating a place outside the reach of the law so that these men can be held for the rest of their lives,” Roehm informed Al Jazeera.

In 2014, Obama delicately acknowledged in an interview“we tortured some folks” In his 2010 narrative Decision Points, Bush stated “Damn Right” he authorized using waterboarding and other interrogation strategies.

2014, after a three-year examination, a United States Senate report on the CIA’s post-September 11 programs of detentions and abuse in black websites exposed the interrogations of 119 individuals recorded by the United States were more ruthless than had actually been formerly confessed by United States authorities.

Mohammed was recorded by the United States in a hidden operation in 2003 and rendered to CIA black websites in Afghanistan and Poland, where he was waterboarded 183 times and sexually assaulted, according to his legal representative.

“A terrible crime occurred, but because of the choices of the US government on how to pursue the alleged perpetrators, there’s no glimmer of hope,” Prasow informed Al Jazeera.

United States military trial of 9/11 suspects drags out twenty years after attack