Alleged 9/11 conspirators postpone offers to plead guilty at military commission hearing

[JURIST] Three out of five Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the self-proclaimed architect of the 9/11 attacks [JURIST report], on Monday postponed their offers to plead guilty to the charges against them after the judge required competency hearings for two of the suspects. The five defendants indicated at a military commission pre-trial hearing on Monday that they wished to plead guilty [JURIST report] to the charges relating to the 9/11 attacks. The judge, Army Col. Stephen Henley [DOD biography, PDF], initially accepted the requests from three of the suspects - Mohammed, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Walid bin Attash - but ruled that competency hearings were required [CNN report] for Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh. Mohammed, Ali, and Attash then withdrew their offers to plead guilty until the competency of al-Hawsawi and al-Shibh is determined.

Henley was assigned to the Mohammed trial last month, following the retirement [JURIST reports] of Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann [JURIST news archive]. The Pentagon approved death penalty charges against Mohammed and the four other suspects in May, and they were arraigned [JURIST reports] in June. In February, CIA Director Michael Hayden publicly acknowledged [JURIST report] that Mohammed had been subjected to waterboarding [JURIST news archive] during interrogation.



 

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