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Trial to resume for 9/11 mastermind

Published:Thursday | April 5, 2012 | 12:00 AM


The Pentagon said yesterday it is ready to resume a trial at Guantanamo Bay for the acknowledged mastermind of the September 11 attacks and four other men, more than two years after President Barack Obama halted the case in an ultimately failed effort to prosecute them in a civilian court.

A Department of Defence legal official known as the convening authority has approved trying the five together on capital charges that include terrorism and murder, making them eligible for the death penalty if convicted. They are expected to be arraigned in May before a military judge at the United States base in Cuba.

Prosecutors had filed the charges last May and there was little doubt that the convening authority would refer the case to a military tribunal for trial. But lawyers had hoped that two of the men would be tried separately on non-capital charges because they are accused of relatively minor roles in the plot.

The five being charged include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who admitted during a military hearing to being the "mastermind" of the terrorist attacks that sent hijacked commercial airliners slamming into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people in 2001.