Law & the Courts

Trial of Accused 9/11 Masterminds Set for 2021

(Brad Rickerby/Reuters)

The trial of five men charged with planning the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 will begin in 2021, a military judge ruled Friday.

The selection of a military jury for the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others accused of planning the attacks will commence on January 11, 2021, the judge in the case, Air Force colonel W. Shane Cohen, said in a ten-page trial-scheduling order. Cohen has also ordered prosecutors to provide certain materials to the defense teams by October 1 in an effort to start the trial by the scheduled date. The trial will take place at the U.S. military base in Guantánamo Bay.

The five men are accused of masterminding and orchestrating the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in which terrorists hijacked commercial airliners and crashed them into New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A third hijacked aircraft was downed by passengers in a field in Pennsylvania en route to its target. All told, the attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 more.

Mohammed, the Pakistani al-Qaeda leader named “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks” in the 9/11 Commission Report, is charged with a slew of crimes involving terrorism, hijacking aircraft, and murder in violation of the laws of war. He was arraigned along with the other four men in this case on May 5, 2012 at Guantánamo.

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