BREAKING: Trial Date Set for 5 Men Who Allegedly Masterminded 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
The capital case trial is scheduled to begin on January 11, 2021, at the US Naval facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. If convicted Mohammed is likely to receive the death penalty.
The trial scheduling order which was signed by the military judge US Air Force Col. W. Shane Cohen says the January 2021 date was selected "to ensure a fair and expeditious processing of this case."
The five men to be tried, including Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mustafa al Hawsawi, and Ammar al-Baluchi, Mohammed’s nephew, were captured in Pakistan in 2002 and 2003. The men were charged during the Bush administration, but Barack Obama impeded the process and suspended the war court so more protections for due process could be added. Over 30 pretrial hearing sessions have been held to discuss issues of law and evidence.
Mohammed has been linked to numerous al Qaeda plots in the run up to the deadly 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington DC, including the 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the US Navy warship the USS Cole.
He was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and was held by the CIA for a period of time before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.
Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the attacks, and his four co-defendants are charged with war crimes punishable by death for allegedly helping 19 airliner hijackers carry out the plot nearly two decades ago.
The complicated nature of the case, combined with these logistical challenges, has led to the repeated delays.
Judge W. Shane Cohen, an Air Force colonel who took over the case in June, said the trial should begin on Jan. 11, 2021, though a number of other deadlines would need to be met for the long-delayed trial to begin.
That includes the U.S. government turning over all evidence it is required to give to defense attorneys. Lawyers for the five defendants say prosecutors have not been forthcoming.
Several defense attorneys have stated that they think the scheduled trial date may be a bit unrealistic as Guantanamo isn't physically ready for a trial of that magnitude. For several years, prosecutors have been asking for a trial date and say that finally having one will motivate all parties to meet the deadline.