Final 9/11 Hearing Abruptly Cancelled at Gitmo Due to COVID-19-Related Illness - Reports
15:56 GMT 17.09.2021 (Updated: 15:57 GMT 17.09.2021)
© AP Photo / Alex BrandonIn this photo reviewed by U.S. military officials, the sun sets behind the closed Camp X-Ray detention facility, Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
© AP Photo / Alex Brandon
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Colonel Matthew McCall, the new military judge behind the 9/11 case, abruptly cancelled the final day of the hearing in Guantanamo due to a case of an illness related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Times reported on Friday.
The pretrial hearings for the five detainees accused of plotting and executing the terrorist attacks opened last week at the Expeditionary Legal Complex at Guantanamo Bay.
The Friday hearing was cancelled due to an illness detected among some trial participants, NYT specified. Also, a reporter who returned to the US from the prison complex on Sunday reportedly tested positive for the virus. The journalist was reportedly fully vaccinated, the Times reported.
So far, four out of five detainees who apprised at the trial, have been vaccinated.
© AFP 2023 / SETH MCALLISTER(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 11, 2001, a hijacked commercial aircraft approaches the twin towers of the World Trade Center shortly before crashing into the landmark skyscraper in New York.
(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 11, 2001, a hijacked commercial aircraft approaches the twin towers of the World Trade Center shortly before crashing into the landmark skyscraper in New York.
The sudden news comes on the heels of the announcement of McCall who said on Monday that the trial of five Guantanamo Bay detainees is not expected to begin for at least another year. The judge also said military commission regulations, the Air Force bar and ethical obligations did not bound going to trial by a particular timeline.
The most high-profile defendant of the five is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who, according to the US government, was the central figure in the attacks. Mohammed was a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda* terror group and reportedly directed the group's propaganda operations from 1999-2001.
McCall rejected the challenges of defendants - Walid bin Attash and Ramzi bin al-Shibh - questioning his qualifications given that he had not read all the filings and court records.
* al-Qaeda is a terrorist group, banned in Russia and many other countries