Alleged 9-11 plotters offer confessions
Five alleged plotters of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks offered their full confessions Monday before a military judge in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, dpa reported.
The alleged mastermind of the, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four co-defendants, told the judge they wanted to enter guilty pleas the case, the Miami Herald reported online. If convicted, the men could be executed.
The surprise move came during a routine pretrial motion hearing at the controversial military commissions set up by President George W Bush for trying suspects in the September 11 attacks and other acts of terrorism.
The judge, Army Colonel Stephen Henely, asked each of the defendants to acknowledge they understood that a guilty plea meant they waived the right to challenge the charges, and that the case against them could be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt," according to the Miami Herald.
"I understand," Mohammed said. "I hope that you will assign a proceeding in the near future, as fast as possible, to get over with this play."
Guilty pleas would allow the judge to assemble a jury for sentencing. The five men face the death penalty for the 2,972 people killed in the September 11 attacks.
The Pentagon is conducting a joint trial of the defendants. Mohammed nephew Ammar al-Baluchi and Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Yemeni Walid bin Attash also agreed to confessions.
The judge would not allow Mustafa al Hawsawi to join the group after his lawyer, Army Major Jon Jackson, argued he was not mentally competent to make decisions on his own.