News / USA

Guantanamo 9/11 Suspect Hearings Face Rough Start

Difficult Start for 9/11 Suspect Hearings at Guantanamoi
X
January 30, 2013 1:51 PM
More than twelve years after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, there is still no trial date set for the alleged mastermind and four other defendants. The pretrial motions hearing under way at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is showing how difficult and complex the case is. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Guantanamo Bay.

Difficult Start for 9/11 Suspect Hearings at Guantanamo

Luis Ramirez
More than 12 years after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, there is still no trial date set for the alleged mastermind and four other defendants. The pretrial motions hearing under way at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is showing how difficult and complex the case is.

The case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 co-conspirators remains tangled in legal motions that are taking months to resolve - before conditions can be set for a trial to take place. 

This week's sessions have focused on torture and the conditions in which the accused have been held since their arrests. 

“In the American system, a trial is intended as a search for truth," explains James Connell, an attorney defending one of the suspects. "This motions hearing will begin to take a first step toward finding the truth about what happened in the torture of these men."

Lawyer requests

At issue in this set of hearings were requests by defense attorneys to spend 48 hours at the detention facility where the prisoners are held.  Questions about who has the power to censor the proceedings arose Monday when someone cut the audio feed for three minutes without the judge's approval.

On Tuesday, the five suspects chose not to attend.  That followed an outburst Monday when one of the suspects said he did not trust his attorneys and saw no point in coming to court.

Victims' relatives present

Memories of the carnage on that day in 2001 were recalled as relatives of victims got to see the five accused.  Among those in the courtroom gallery was Phyllis Rodriguez, whose son Greg died in the New York attacks. 

She came here to see the proceedings up close, but believes the case belongs in an experienced civilian federal court on U.S. soil.

“I feel it would have been much more open in federal court," she said. "The public would have had much more access.  Media would have had much more access.  You know, this is a trip to get here, and it's high security, so it's very involved."

President Obama tried to close the Guantanamo detention facility and transfer the prisoners to the U.S. for trial, but a law was later passed forbidding it. 

A special military court set up seven years ago is working through the steps to ensure the trial is fair and transparent. 

More delays

For those eager to see justice in the case, it means more waiting.

"There may not be a trial in my lifetime.  It may take years and years.  But I'm not impatient because I do not expect closure from the resolution of this trial," said Phyllis Rodriguez.  "It's not going to change my life. It's not going to bring my son back no matter what the verdict is.  So I'm not impatient.  What I believe, I believe it should be done right.”

Doing things right in this trial will take many more days of tedious and complicated proceedings.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid