Alleged 9/11 Plotters Present List of Demands

It's part of plea agreement talks as their cases drag on in military court
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2022 11:15 AM CDT
Alleged 9/11 Plotters Enter Plea Deal Talks
This Dec. 8, 2008, courtroom drawing by artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by the US military, shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, center, and co-defendant Walid nin Attash, left, attending a pretrial session at the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.   (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool, File)

Possible plea agreements could include life sentences for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four alleged accomplices if they were to admit to carrying out the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Plea agreement negotiations are unfolding at Guantanamo Bay, with defendants pushing to have execution taken off the table, the New York Times reports. This follows similar talks during the Trump administration, when the defendants demanded to serve sentences at Guantanamo Bay, where they can gather in groups, rather than at a supermax prison in Colorado, where federal inmates are kept in solitary confinement for all but an hour of the day.

"Resolution of the military commission process through trial or by negotiated settlement contributes to" the Biden administration's goal to close Guantanamo's detention facility, currently home to 38 detainees, Todd Breasseale, deputy press secretary for the Department of Defense, tells CNN. It's unclear if any deal that would keep the five men at Guantanamo is being considered. But the incentive to wrap up what the Guardian calls "arguably the biggest criminal case in US history," which has stretched on for nearly a decade and still awaits a trial date, is certainly there. The CIA's torture of the defendants using waterboarding, rectal abuse, and sleep deprivation have been a focus of pretrial proceedings amid high turnover of lawyers and judges.

Last week, the lead lawyer for defendant Walid bin Attash asked to step down from the case, triggering a delay that could last months, the Times reports. With the judge, defense team, and prosecution team already at Guantanamo for three weeks of pretrial hearings, lead case prosecutor Clayton G. Trivett Jr. proposed plea agreement talks, and lawyers for the five men on Monday submitted a joint list of requirements, starting with the elimination of the death penalty. Col. Jeffrey D. Wood of the Arkansas National Guard, who's the convening authority for military commissions, would need to approve any deal. The men would then be sentenced by a military jury. (Read more 9/11 attacks stories.)

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