Guantanamo judge says at least one year left for 9/11 trial to begin

Guantanamo judge says at least one year left for 9/11 trial to begin

Fort Meade, Mohd. The new judge presiding over the September 11, 2001 case at Guantanamo Bay said Monday that the trial of five men accused of plotting the attacks would not begin for at least another year.

The judge, Colonel Matthew N. McCall, who took over the case last month, was holding his second-week pre-trial hearing at a United States naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after a delay of more than a year and a half. Epidemic.

The deadline set by the judge on Monday will mean the trial of five people, including conspiracy mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will last no more than 21 years until the hijacked jetliner crashes into the Twin Towers of World Trade. Center, Pentagon and an area in Shanksville, Penn.

Colonel McCall was delivering the verdict on objections by defense lawyers to the two defendants, Walid bin Atash and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Lawyers questioned his qualifications to preside over the death penalty case because he had not read back filings and court records, including a 33,660-page transcript of the defendants in May 2012.

He urged him to adjourn the proceedings till he is properly trained and also thoroughly familiar with the judgments delivered by the last three judges in the case.

The judge replied that he had enough time, and had a plan in place to get up to speed, which would include taking a National Judicial College course on how to handle capital cases. Due to the pandemic, he will take it online, he said.

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“At least we are at least a year away from testing,” said Air Force Colonel Colonel McCall. He declared himself qualified by the rules of the military commission, the bar and moral obligations of the Air Force and “not bound by any particular timeline for the trial”.

Colonel McCall is the fourth judge to preside over a Guantanamo court in a conspiracy case against Mr. Mohamed and four others who were charged with helping to plot the kidnappings that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon 20 years ago. There is an allegation. .

He has been a military judge for just two years, and was recently promoted to colonel, making him the youngest and least experienced of the judges overseeing the case.

Mr Bin Atash’s lawyer Cheryl Borman urged the judge last week to adjourn proceedings until he had completed the course and was fully familiar with the decisions of the previous three judges as a basis for moving forward .

Instead, the judge said, he had developed a plan for learning, which included separate meetings with each individual defense team and prosecutors to fill out his classified information filings. Since this is a matter of national security, the judge is assigned to determine what evidence can be provided to defense attorneys – and what information is withheld or modified – at trial. does not harm.

An earlier judge had set a timetable for the commencement of the hearing in January this year. But this plan has been hanging for a long time. At least, based on the judge’s comments, jury selection will not begin until after the 21st anniversary of the attacks.

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