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The Pentagon announced Monday it had charged six Guantanamo detainees with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks and will seek the death penalty against them, setting the stage for trials by military tribunal. Legal experts discuss the move.
Six alleged plotters of the 9/11 attacks face trial by a military commission, which could sentence them to death. At a Pentagon briefing this morning, a top military lawyer summed up the case against the six men.
BRIG. GEN. THOMAS HARTMANN, Legal Adviser, U.S. Military Tribunal System:
These charges allege a long-term, highly sophisticated, organized plan by al-Qaida to attack the United States of America.
The most prominent defendant, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the attacks. The other defendants and the charges against them: Walid bin Attash, training two hijackers at a camp in Afghanistan; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ali Abdul al-Aziz, and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, coordinating the hijackers' money and training; and Mohammed al-Qahtani, the so-called 20th hijacker, who was barred entry to the U.S. a month before 9/11.
Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, a legal adviser to the tribunal, said the defendants would have a fair trial, consistent with American standards of justice, with such rights as…
BRIG. GEN. THOMAS HARTMANN:
… the right to remain silent and to have no inference drawn from it, no adverse inference drawn from it; the right to be represented by detailed military counsel, as well as civilian counsel of his own selection, at no expense to the government; the right to examine all evidence used against him by the prosecution…
Hartmann was asked if evidence gathered from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed through harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding would be admissible against them.
We will apply the rule of law. And evidence with regard to the admissibility of evidence will be determined there by the prosecution and the defense fighting it out and a military judge making that decision.
The presiding military judge, Susan Crawford, will first decide whether the prosecution can try these men together and can seek the death penalty.
The trial, which may not begin for months, will be held at a specially designed courtroom within a tent city called Camp Justice at Guantanamo Bay.
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