Arraignment of 9/11 defendants begins at Guantanamo

Photo: Arraignment of 9/11 defendants begins at Guantanamo  / U.S.A.

Military prosecutors Saturday began reading the criminal charges against five alleged conspirators in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, dpa reported.

The Pentagon said the charges include terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder, attacking civilians, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Led by alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the defendants were being arraigned in a courtroom at the US military detention centre on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The hearing was monitored by live video feed in Fort Meade, Maryland, outside Washington. The other defendants are Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi and Walid bin Attash.

The accused had appeared in a court in Guantanamo in June 2008, but the procedure was interrupted by a change of approach in the prosecution.

The 2001 suicide hijackings, in which civilian airliners were used as missiles, took nearly 3,000 lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The actual trial is not expected to begin until next year.

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