Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man accused by the U.S. government of masterminding the attacks of September 11, 2001, was arraigned on May 5 along with four alleged co-conspirators before a military tribunal at the Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The five defendants were presented with an 87-page indictment that took nearly three hours to read.
The indictment charges the men with 2,976 counts of murder, as well as acts of terrorism, hijacking, conspiracy, and destruction of property. If convicted by the military court, they will be eligible for the death penalty. At the arraignment, attorneys for the five terror suspects gave no indication of how their clients will plead. The next appearance of the men before the military magistrate is scheduled for June 12.
As we have previously reported, the Department of Defense referred the case against the so-called “Gitmo Five” to a military commission last April and a month later the Defense Department announced that charges had been formally filed against the men accusing them of participating in the planning of the attacks on the Trade Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
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Photo: At left a March 1, 2003 photo obtained by the Associated Press shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan. At right, a photo from the Arabic language Internet site www.muslm.net and purporting to show a man identified as Khalid Sheik Mohammed is seen in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: AP Images