Nearly 20 years after the grusome killing of scores in the September 2011 attack on the World Trade Centre, 5 of the Masterminds are to face death-penalty trial.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp will be tried in January 2020, a military judge at the US Navy’s Guantanamo ruled.
The January 11, 2021 date was included in a scheduling order for pre-trial activities by the military judge, Colonel Shane Cohen, the New York Times said.
The five will be the first to go on trial in the military commissions established to handle the “War on Terror” detainees captured and sent to Guantanamo after September 11, 2001 attacks that left 2,976 people dead in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.
Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, and Mustafa al-Hawsawi were accused of planning and participating in the plot hatched by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to hijack four airliners and crash them into New York’s World Trade Center and buildings in Washington.
Two of the planes struck the World Trade Center, another hit the Pentagon and a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers, having learned of the other flights, fought the hijackers.
The five were formally charged in 2012 with conspiracy, attacking civilians, murder in violation of the law of war, aircraft hijacking and terrorism.
Mohammed, a Pakistan native thought to be about 54, is a key figure in the trial: he has been accused of being the mastermind of the 9/11 plot.
He was captured in Pakistan in 2003. Turned over to the US Central Intelligence Agency, he underwent severe torture, including repeated waterboarding, as US officials sought to learn more about the plot and Al-Qaeda.