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Tue Sep 7, 2021, 07:57 AM

Trial of alleged mastermind of 9/11 resumes, days before 20th anniversary

The prosecution of alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others restarts Tuesday, just days before the 20th anniversary of the attacks, stirring new hopes for justice and retribution.

Mohammed and his co-defendants, who have been locked up at the “War on Terror” prison at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for nearly 15 years, will appear in the military tribunal here for the first time since early 2019.

But after a 17-month halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, the proceedings appear likely to continue where they left off, mired in the defense’s efforts to disqualify most of the government’s evidence as tainted by the torture the defendants underwent in CIA custody.

On Sunday, the new military judge, Air Force Colonel Matthew McCall—the case’s eighth—signaled a slow start, deciding that an initial hearing focused on his own qualifications will take place on Tuesday. Lawyers for both sides are allowed in a war crimes tribunal to question a new judge for possible bias.

The rest of the week will mostly involve meetings with the military prosecutors and defense teams.

With scores of motions lined up to demand evidence that military prosecutors refuse to hand over, defense attorneys said the pretrial phase could easily last another year, placing far over the horizon any hope for a jury trial and verdict.


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