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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid