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24 March 2017 13:49 (South Africa)

Top 9/11 suspects to be tried in US civil courts, attorney general announces

On Friday, US attorney general Eric Holder said five top 9/11 suspects, including Khalid Mohammed, would be transferred to the US for trial, rather than be tried at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, the US naval base in Cuba. This is part of Barack Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo prison. The Obama administration faced a court deadline of 16 November to decide on a future course of action. The five will now be tried in a federal court located close to the Ground Zero in New York City. While in Tokyo, Barack Obama said these trials would face the “most exacting demands of justice”. Meanwhile, former NYC mayor (and Republican presidential candidate) Rudi Giuliani criticised this decision sharply on weekend television. While the trial circumstances of these five have been decided, there remain some 70 more prisoners in Guantanamo, against whom there is probably insufficient useable evidence for either a military or a civilian trial. Even in the case of Khalid Mohammed, any confession may be deemed inadmissible as it might have been derived through water-boarding or other “torture” techniques. He is believed to have been the al-Qaeda operative third in command and was captured in 2003. Meanwhile, 15 federal judges are now reviewing pleas for release by dozens of terror suspects, in accordance with a US Supreme Court ruling from 2008. These sessions have already found the government's evidence against them to be wanting and ordered their release. Read more at the BBC and the AP And to read more on Rudi Giuliani's criticism of these planned trials, read more at the AP.

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