News / USA

September 11 Court Case Taking Years Before Trial

September 11 Court Case Taking Years before Triali
X
February 17, 2014 12:37 PM
It has been six years since Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other detainees at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were first charged with murder for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Why is it taking so long to bring them to trial? VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has some answers.
Meredith Buel
It has been six years since Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other detainees at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were first charged with murder for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.  Why is it taking so long to bring them to trial? 

Justice is moving slowly for the five men charged in connection with the murder of nearly 3,000 people in the 9/11 attacks.

They are being held in a maximum security prison at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay.

Alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four others are charged with plotting the assaults.

The sheer magnitude of the crime is one reason for the slow pace of the case.

Cully Stimson is an expert on military detention and commissions. “It is taking this long because these are the most complicated national security cases our country has ever attempted to try,” he stated.

Stimson said more than a half-million documents have been introduced in the 9/11 case.

He said discussions have just started on information that is classified.

Security clearances are needed for the attorneys and those assisting them.

More than 100 pretrial motions have been argued and some are taking months to resolve.

Unusual and unexpected issues have come up.

“Questions about whether or not there have been outside censors, namely the CIA, that have been listening in on the courtroom and closing the courtroom unilaterally.  Those kinds of things just don’t happen in federal civilian court,” explained law professor Jennifer Daskal.

There are currently 155 detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Many have long been approved for transfer if security conditions are met.

About a third are from Yemen but remain stranded at Guantanamo because of instability at home.

President Obama has been trying to close the prison since early in his presidency and repeated that hope in this year’s State of the Union address. “With the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay,” he said.

But the prison remains open and the 9/11 case drags on.

Months went by when the Obama administration tried to move these detainees and their trials to the U.S.

But vehement opposition from the American public and some members of Congress forced the administration to return to the military court at Guantanamo.

Evidence in these terrorism cases is extremely sensitive and the military judge must take the time to decide what can be made public.

“These men were initially captured, most of them in 2003 and held for some period of time, in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad for three years in CIA black sites where he was allegedly tortured and water boarded and subjected to inhumane, cruel treatment.” stated Daskal.

Lawyers for Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and the other defendants continue to file motions.

They must be decided before a trial can start.

“Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is an egomaniac.  He knows he is never going to get out, ever.  And so he is going to do what he can to mess with the system,” said Cully Stimson.

The prosecution has proposed the trial start in January of 2015 at Guantanamo.

If there is a conviction there will be appeals.

Analysts say it could take a decade or more before the appeals are complete.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs