9/11: 20 Years Later
On 11 September 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed four passenger jets, destroying the World Trade Centre towers in New York and damaging the Pentagon. The attack killed almost 3,000 people and injured 25,000, prompting the launch of US-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Pretrial Hearings for Alleged 9/11 Plotters Resume at Guantanamo Bay Prison, Reports Suggest
13:59 GMT 07.09.2021 (Updated: 13:00 GMT 09.09.2021)
© AP Photo / Suzette LaboySoldiers walk past detainees' cells during early morning prayer at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Camp 5, in Cuba
© AP Photo / Suzette Laboy
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The pretrial hearings for five Guantanamo detainees who are accused of plotting and executing the deadly 9/11 attacks have opened the Expeditionary Legal Complex (ELC) at Camp Justice on 7 September, media reported.
At the hearing, which is the first since February 2020, military judge Colonel Matthew McCall announced that the military commission would have its attendance discussion and would start voir dire of the judge's qualifications, according to ABC News. The sessions on Wednesday and Friday are due to be closed, while the Thursday session will be a half-day open session, the outlet reported.
According to journalists, four out of the five defendants are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The most high-profile defendant is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who, according to the report of the 9/11 Commission, was the central figure in the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed was a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda (terrorist group, banned in Russia), and reportedly directed the group's propaganda operations from 1999-2001.
19 July, 18:57 GMT
Established by the George Bush administration in 2002, the facility has long been criticised for mistreatment and abuses of prisoners, with human rights activists and international organizations calling for its closure. Former US President Barack Obama vowed to close the camp but faced strong pushback from Congress. His successor, Donald Trump, signed an order to keep the detention camp open indefinitely, while incumbent President Joe Biden has promised to close the facility.
The US authorities have since shut down secretive Camp Seven, where the highly classified prisoners were kept, and transferred the detainees to other accommodation blocks. Yet, no announcements on the full closure of the camp, which once kept over 700 people — mostly without charges — followed. In July, the White House announced that the Biden administration is aiming to close down the detention facility for good and that it works to transfer its remaining detainees out, but it has set no deadline to effectuate its closure.