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“It's not necessarily a foregone conclusion that there will be a trial.”

Duke Law professor Madeline Morris on the legal proceedings against the confessed "Mastermind of 9/11" and others.

Published on

sep 8, 2021

  • Professor Morris leads the Guantánamo Defense Clinic, which supports the defense counsel of military commissions.
  • Five alleged terrorists, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, remain awaiting trial at Gitmo. KSM has repeatedly publicly admitted to being the brain behind 9/11. The others are accused of some role in supporting or planning the execution of the attack.
  • The five men are among 39 prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
  • The Biden administration wants to eventually close the facility.
  • The trial of these individuals has gone on for more than a decade, plagued by delays, logistical obstacles and court challenges - including disputes over evidence which includes information gathered during "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Why It Matters: Despite having the alleged terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks in custody, the United States has yet to prosecute them - raising the question if they'll ever be brought to justice.

Excerpt from CNN: Mohammed who sat closest to the judge in the order of detainees, was seen with his arm slung across the back of his chair talking with Bin 'Attash, who sat behind him in the order they were arraigned in the courtroom. During the first courtroom recess, Mohammed walked out of the courtroom accompanied by guards. He waved at two reporters in the gallery on his way out.

Excerpt from NBC: "I have no doubt whatsoever that KSM is guilty," said Terry McDermott, co-author of "The Hunt for KSM," the definitive account of how the U.S. tracked down Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

"He's admitted it himself over and over again. So this should have been a very straightforward, open-and-shut case. If they had done this in the Southern District of New York, where they've done 200 terrorism trials, the guy would have been in jail or executed 10 years ago. But if you've been to Guantánamo, you've seen the situation. The whole thing is ridiculous."

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