The Straits Times
Published on Oct 16, 2012

Long-delayed 9/11 case begins at Guantanamo


US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (AFP) - Long-delayed efforts to try self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four Al-Qaeda co-defendants finally got under way on Monday with a pre-trial hearing at Guantanamo.

Eleven years after the attacks and nine-and-a-half years after his capture in Pakistan, Sheikh Mohammed sat on a court bench wearing a white turban, his beard dyed with henna, as victims' family members looked on from behind a glass screen.

He is accused of orchestrating the hijacked airliner plot that left 2,976 people dead, while his alleged Al-Qaeda accomplices are charged with providing funding and other support for those who crashed the planes.

All five defendants face the death penalty if convicted, but their trial by military tribunal at the US naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba is not expected to start for at least another year.