Imaginaerum – Official Trailer
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Self-confessed terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed made his first court appearance since 2008 last Friday, May 4.
Along with four alleged co-conspirators (Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa al Hawsawi), he arrived in the courtroom at the Guantanamo US naval base for an arraignment. All five are set to be tried for their roles in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as they are being charged with 2,976 individual counts of murder and may receive the death penalty. Specifically, their accusations involve “planning, organizing, and financing” the terrorist attacks.
Taking out their earphones for the Arabic translation, all five men chose to maintain a non-cooperative stance when addressed; they remained silent even when the judge questioned them whether they “accepted their defense team.” Their team includes military lawyers and civilian attorneys who are experts in death penalty cases.
Mohammed’s civilian lawyer David Nevin said, “The reason that he is not putting the earphones on is because of the torture that was inflicted upon him.” Particularly, according to a US federal report, Mohammed was interrogated 183 times through use of waterboarding, a controversial practice that simulates drowning.
However, military judge Col James Pohl made it clear that the hearing would proceed despite the lack of cooperation from the defendants.
After nine hours, the lawyers of the five men announced that their clients decided to defer their pleas, which subsequently permits them to take their legal obligations to the tribunal. The defense team further suggested that a trial date be set at least a year later.
The procession of events deeply contrasted with Mohammed’s December 2008 court appearance when he “tried to confess and plead guilty and declared his desire to be a martyr”, further celebrating his culpability for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Among those watching the hearing were five family members of victims that attended the arraignment and others that watched from four northeast US military bases through video-stream.
Maureen Basnicki, 61, whose husband Ken died in the attacks, commented, “Part of me was trying to get a sense of justice and to understand why these men were so full of hate that they would slaughter so many innocent civilians, though I always doubted those questions would be answered for me.”
To read more about the events of the arraignment, click here.