The First Draft: NYC awaits day in court 8 years after 9/11
Today seems a day of numbers: 8, 11, 5, 3000, 13. Put another way, more than 8 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the brutally violated City of New York learns that 5 men accused in the deaths of the nearly 3,000 people will face an actual criminal trial — in New York.
Oh, yeah, and the news comes on Friday the 13th.
The lead defendant, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, initially confessed to masterminding the 2001 attacks that set the United States on the road to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he later told a Pentagon war crimes court that the interrogators “were putting many words in my mouth.” He also said he wants to be put to death and become a martyr.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will formally announce later today that KSM and four other defendants will be sent to New York City to stand trial for the attacks.
It’s part of President Barack Obama’s plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which has long been a target of human rights allegations against the United States.
The proceedings in New York will be an important test of how a U.S. civilian court might handle cases involving detainees who were subjected to U.S. interrogation techniques that some describe as torture.
“I am absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice. The American people will insist on it. My administration will insist on it,” Obama said in Tokyo where he was on a weeklong trip through Asia.
Survivors of those who died aboard the USS Cole in 2000 have waited longer for their day in court. But they also learned on Friday the 13th that the accused mastermind in that attack will be tried in military tribunals along with other suspects in the case.
Photo Credits: Reuters/Brad Rickerby (Twin Towers); Reuters/Janet Hamlin (KSM and Waleed bin Attash); Reuters/Aladin Abdel Naby (USS Cole)