Individuals on Sunday observe the twenty first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist assaults, generally known as the 9/11 assaults.
Terrorist group Al Qaeda is believed to be behind the assaults that killed 2,977 folks in the US. Whereas its management on the time is both eradicated or imprisoned, households of 9/11 victims nonetheless await justice because the 5 males in US authorities’s custody for planning the assaults are but to be convicted and sentenced.
Their conviction and sentencing seems to be a distant hope because the trial is but to begin. After 21 years, the 9/11 case nonetheless stays in pre-trial stage.
Right here we clarify what occurred on September 11, 2001, who carried out the assaults and who deliberate it, and why and the way the trial is but to begin.
The 9/11 assaults defined
Nineteen terrorists of Al Qaeda hijacked 4 passenger planes on Sept. 11, 2001.
One airplane every was crashed into every of the World Commerce Centre’s towers in New York Metropolis, killing 2,750 folks. A 3rd airplane was crashed into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Division of Defence, in Virginia, killing 180 folks. The fourth airplane was introduced down within the fields of Pennsylvania when passengers and crew fought their hijackers to retake management of the airplane. Forty folks died within the Pennsylvania crash.
The vacation spot of the fourth airplane stays unknown but it surely’s believed it might have been destined to US Capitol in Washington DC.
The pursuit of Al Qaeda leaders behind 9/11 assaults
The US authorities held the then-Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his fellow leaders of the terrorist group liable for the 9/11 assaults. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, sometimes called KSM, was the “principal architect” of assaults, in line with the US 9/11 Fee.
Following the assaults, the then-US President George W Bush launched the Struggle on Terror by which a lot of the Western world joined the US. A US-led worldwide power invaded Afghanistan the place 9/11 plotters had been believed to have operated from. The US-led forces overthrew the Taliban regime in Afghanistan on the time that is believed to have sheltered Al Qaeda. The US additionally saved searching Bin Laden, who slipped away throughout the preliminary invasion.
Osama bin Laden was finally killed in a US particular forces operation sanctioned by the then-US President Barack Obama in 2011. His deputy on the time of the assaults and successor Ayman al Zawahiri was killed in July 2022 in an air strike sanctioned by present US President Joe Biden.
KSM, the principal architech of the 9/11 assaults, was captured in 2003 in Pakistan in a villa at a mere five-minutes drive from the Pakistan Army headquarters.
The detention at Guantanamo Bay
5 individuals are in US authorities’s custody who’re believed to be among the many 9/11 planners, together with the mastermind KSM. They’re:
1. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is accused to be the mastermind of 9/11 assaults. He was the quantity three of Al Qaeda after Bin Laden and Al Zawahiri.
2. Walid bin Attash is accused of coaching two of the hijackers learn how to combat to take management of the passenger planes.
3. Ramzi bin al-Shibh is accused of recruiting hijackers in Germany. He’s additionally accused of being an middleman between lead hijacker Mohammed Atta and Al Qaeda management.
4. Ammar al-Baluchi is accued of transferring cash to hijackers.
5. Mustafa al-Hawsawi can be accused of transferring cash to hijackers.
The 5 of them are being detained in a facility in Guantanamo Bay, a US navy base in Cuba. They’re detained there to be prosecuted by a navy fee.
This medium of prosecution is controversial because the 5 of them are usually not being prosecuted below the US federal legal guidelines however by a navy fee. They’re indefinitely detained at Guantanamo detention facility —usually known as Gitmo— and haven’t any protections in any other case provided by the US Structure or federal legal guidelines.
The detention camp got here up in 2002 to deal with terrorists accused of 9/11 and different acts of terror in opposition to the US. It bypasses US legal guidelines and allegedly violates Geneva Conventions and is accused of human rights violations.
“Since 2002, roughly 780 people suspected of terrorist involvement and belonging to some 50 totally different nations have handed by means of the navy jail on international soil, thus they aren’t topic to US regulation and its Structure. Tons of have been launched with out cost, and a few transferred to 3rd nations,” notes journalist Hollie McKay.
Of the 780 folks to have been processed by means of Gitmo, solely two have been convicted to date. That is believed to be a grave failure of US counter-terrorism efforts, which have in any other case been hailed in its success to have prevented main jihadist assaults on US soil after 9/11 assaults.
Why the 9/11 trial is but to begin?
The prosecution of the 5 9/11 planners continues to be within the pre-trial stage. A key cause for this seemingly unending delay is the backward and forward between the prosecution and defence over what proof is admissible as lot of proof and confessions have been obtained by means of “enhanced interrogation strategies” (EITs), which is usually mentioned to be a euphemism for torture.
“The torture allegations led to issues that the U.S. may need ruined its likelihood to place Mohammed on trial in a civilian court docket,” notes The Related Press.
That is additionally a cause why the US authorities is reluctant to prosecute the accused on US soil below common US legal guidelines because the accused would then have civil liberties and authorized rights which may convey forth the alleged US abuses on them and others through the years.
Explaining the navy fee below which the accused are being prosecuted, McKay writes, “Per the up to date Navy Commissions Act of 2009 (conceived in 2006, reformed three years later and amended in 2011 and 2013 to provide better protections to defendants), a Convening Authority is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Protection. The commissions amalgamate US federal prison courts and the navy court-martial system.”
The pre-trial proceedings are additionally lengthy as a result of the US authorities needs to guard the categorised intelligence and nationwide safety materials which may grow to be public, so there’s lot of deliberation and backward and forward between the prosecution and defence over “discovery of knowledge”.
“The protection attorneys need entry to all info the federal government possesses about their shoppers’ abusive remedy by the CIA, together with granular particulars about their torture. They insist it’s crucial to supply efficient authorized counsel…The prosecution argues that paperwork containing the complete particulars concerning the CIA’s now-defunct Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program are too delicate to share,” writes Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology at College of California Santa Barbara in an article for The Dialog.
Hajjar additional notes that the US Central Intelligence Company (CIA) argues that the case is concerning the actions of the accused resulting in 9/11 and never about what occurred to them afterwards, with one prosecutor saying that “The CIA just isn’t on trial”.
Whereas this backward and forward saved consuming time, the switch of navy judges additionally added to it. The proceedings had been additional stopped for 17 months due to Covid-19 pandemic. Regardless of the resumption of proceedings, hearings have been repeatedly cancelled this 12 months.
“The navy commissions calendar exhibits that 9/11-related hearings had been canceled in January, March, Might, June, July, and September. There are pretrial hearings canceled in October and scheduled in November,” reported Washington Examiner.
The AP has reported that the accused and the US authorities are negotiating a plea deal the place the accused might plead responsible however escape the dying sentence. That is unacceptable to many, together with the US Republicans.
Republication Consultant Mike Turner instructed Examiner, “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his accomplices deliberate the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults [and are] liable for the deaths of practically 3,000 Individuals. It’s unconscionable that navy prosecutors would even entertain the thought of a plea settlement that eliminated the potential for the dying penalty.”
Rep. Michael McCaul, the highest Republican on the Home Overseas Affairs Committee, mentioned “If this case would not justify the dying penalty, what does?”
Households of victims await justice amid all this. Gordon Haberman, whose 25-year-old daughter Andrea died within the 9/11 assaults, instructed The AP, “Now, I’m undecided what’s going to occur. It’s necessary to me that America lastly will get to the reality about what occurred, the way it was achieved. I personally need to see this go to trial.”
Points with protracted prosecution and attainable manner ahead
David Kelley, a former US legal professional who co-chaired the Justice Division’s nationwide investigation into the 9/11 assaults, known as the delays and failure to prosecute “an terrible tragedy for the households of the victims”. He instructed AP that placing KSM on trial earlier than a navy tribunal reasonably than within the common US court docket system is “an amazing failure” that was “as offensive to our Structure as to our rule of regulation”.
Kelley additional mentioned that it turns into tougher to prosecute KSM with the passage of time as “proof goes stale, witness reminiscences fail”.
Hajjar recommended two attainable methods out of the issues.
“If the precedence is to guard the CIA’s secrets and techniques, the dying penalty must be taken off the desk and plea cut price negotiations for all times sentences ought to start. If the dying penalty stays a precedence, the protection must be given entry to all the data they search, together with, for instance, the complete Senate Choose Committee on Intelligence’s report concerning the CIA’s rendition program,” wrote Hajjar in The Dialog.
The plea talks are already on, as confirmed by one of many accused’s authorized crew to the AP.