Maggie: Those men are charged with nearly 3,000 murders, the number of people who died on in 9/11. The defendants included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who once claimed to be the 9/11 mastermind.
At Saturday’s military hearing in Cuba, Mohammed and his four accused co-conspirators were expected to plead guilty or not guilty. Instead, they refused to answer the judge’s questions, wouldn’t listen to Arabic translations of what was going on, prayed, read magazines and even made paper airplanes. They also demanded that all 87 pages of the charges, and every victim’s name, be read aloud. The hearing that was supposed to be two hours lasted nearly thirteen.
Defense attorney: The accused participated in peaceful resistance to an unjust system. The accused refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the military commission as demonstrated through their silence. These men have endured years of inhumane treatment and torture.
Maggie: Another defense attorney, a female wearing a traditional Muslim head covering and garment, said the defendants were being forced to commit a sin by looking at female government prosecutors. Those attorney’s were dressed in U.S. Navy uniforms, but she suggested they dress more modestly. The prosecution repeatedly tried to redirect the focus.
“The United States is committed to accountability under law, to those who have plotted to attack our nation and to kill innocent people.”
Maggie: Relatives of the 9/11 victims were able to watch the hearing at several U.S. military forts.
“I’m representing my son. My son can’t speak for himself anymore. I miss him terribly. It’ll make me feel a little but my son is never going to come back, and I’m paying for that. For them to sit there and smugly ignore the court, I think, is very callous.”
“Justice has been denied so long so long, I don’t understand why this wasn’t done three years ago.”
“I’m glad it’s started now but it’s awfully late in the game.”
“My brother was murdered in the cockpit of his airplane and he was not surrounded by his loved ones and his family. He did not get to say goodbye. And we feel we have to stand up for him and witness for him. And it’s all about being there for our loved ones and seeing this all the way through.”
Maggie: Those relatives may need still more patience. Experts say it could be years before there is a verdict in this case.
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.