News / USA

Republicans Demand Military Trial For 9/11 Suspects

Kent Klein

The White House says U.S. President Barack Obama would consider a military trial for five men charged with planning the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.  Republicans and Democrats are criticizing the administration's decision to hold the trial in a civilian court in New York.
 
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided last year that the trial of five suspects in the 9-11 attacks would take place in a federal court in New York City.

Now, President Obama is taking another look at that decision, according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, to prevent possible intervention in the matter by the U.S. Senate.  "There are efforts on Capitol Hill, through legislation, to restrict either the type of or the venue of a trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators.  That, by definition, involves the White House and, ultimately, the president," he said.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is sponsoring legislation to stop terror suspects held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from being brought to the United States for civilian trials.  In his party's weekly address Saturday, Graham says civilian trials of al-Qaida terrorists are dangerous. "Never before have we allowed non-citizen, enemy combatants captured on the battlefield access to our civilian courts providing them with the same constitutional rights as American citizens," he sqid.

Graham refers to the 1995 trial in which Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman was convicted in a federal court of plotting the first attempt to blow up New York's World Trade Center.
 
He says civilian court rules required the government to disclose to the defense the identity of all known co-conspirators, one of whom was Osama bin Laden. "Our intelligence services later learned this list made its way back to bin Laden tipping him off about our surveillance.  A conviction was obtained in that trial, but valuable intelligence was compromised.  The rest is history," he said.

Graham says military tribunals are the best way to render justice and protect the nation from terrorists. "These trials will be conducted by the same men and women who administer justice to our own troops.  They are competent professionals with a great understanding of their obligations under the law.  It is a system of justice that allows us to move securely forward in this war while upholding our values," he said.

Since Attorney General Holder decided to seek a civilian prosecution, military charges lodged by the administration of previous President George W. Bush were dismissed last month.  White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday those charges could be revived, now that the Obama administration has made reforms in the military justice system. "The reform efforts that have been brought about insure the type of protections that would withstand constitutional and Supreme Court scrutiny," he said.

The White House has been under fire on security issues since a Nigerian man allegedly tried to blow up an airliner landing in Detroit late last year.

Gibbs sought to reassure lawmakers from both parties, as well as some foreign governments, that wherever the 9-11 trial is held, the U.S. will vigorously prosecute the suspects. "One way or the other, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be brought to justice by these decisions.  I do not think you can be any tougher than that.  This president has, without going into great detail, taken the fight internationally to terror suspects," he said.

Gibbs said the president is taking into account security and logistical concerns, after objections were raised by local officials in New York.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid