Military Commissions Prosecution of 9/11 Defendants a Risky Choice
Washington, D.C. – Today, Pentagon officials announced that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four co-defendants will face the death penalty for their alleged role in planning the 9/11 attacks that claimed 2,977 innocent lives. Pentagon officials noted that the five men will be arraigned next month at the Guantanamo. “Those who plotted the 9/11 attacks must be prosecuted for their crimes. The families of those lost on 9/11 deserve justice, as do all Americans,” said Human Rights First’s Dixon Osburn. “What Americans don’t deserve is a make-it-up-as-you-go-along trial before a tribunal where the rules seem to be under constant scrutiny and revision. I would sleep a lot better at night if they were being tried in federal court, where the rules are as solid as the court’s track record of prosecuting terror suspects in high-profile and sensitive terrorism cases.” The arraignments will take place just weeks after Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s military commissions is to proceed with attorneys asking the court to rule on a number of procedural and constitutional issues calling into question the validity of the military commission system. Ossburn notes that the al-Nashiri case, slated to proceed next week, underscores the uncertainties that still surround the military commissions system. Al-Nashiri stands trial before a U.S. military commission for his suspected involvement with the 2000 USS Cole bombing, the USS Sullivans attempted bombing, and the bombing of a French civilian oil tanker MV. America’s federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorists since the 9/11 attacks. By comparison, military commissions have secured only seven convictions, including five plea bargains. Human Rights First will be on the ground in Guantanamo as the 9/11 defendants are arraigned.