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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 23 April, 2014

Accused 9/11 mastermind to face trial over attacks

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed could face the death penalty along with four others if convicted.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shortly after he was captured in Pakistan in 2003
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shortly after he was captured in Pakistan in 2003
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE MAN ACCUSED of planning the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001 is set to stand trial at Guantanamo Bay.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has acknowledged being the “mastermind” of the terror attacks, was first charged in 2008 but proceedings were suspended as Barack Obama’s administration attempted to have them moved to a civilian court.

Pentagon officials have now given the go-ahead for a new trial, which is likely to be held at the US prison camp on Cuba.

Four others will also face charges. “If convicted, the five accused could be sentenced to death,” the US Department of Defence said in a statement.

The five are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.

Defence lawyers and human rights groups have said the military tribunal system under which they will be tried favours the prosecution, with a hand-picked jury and judge who are all military officers.

It includes rules that prevent a public airing of the harsh treatment endured by prisoners such as Mohammed, who was subjected to water-boarding and other forms of interrogation while held by the CIA.

This BBC report explains more:


YouTube/BBCHeadlines

- Additional reporting from the AP

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