This text was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Middle on Disaster Reporting.
The army decide overseeing the Sept. 11 case at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba delayed litigation deadlines once more on Friday, suspending the beginning of the trial of the accused mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and 4 accused co-conspirators till after the twentieth anniversary of the assaults subsequent 12 months.
The loss of life penalty case, in its eighth 12 months of pretrial proceedings, was already sophisticated by its distant location, procedural points, authorized challenges and the management of categorised proof by completely different parts of the U.S. authorities.
“The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has continued to worsen,” the decide, Col. Douglas Okay. Watkins of the Military, wrote in a two-page order that prolonged deadlines for one more 30 days, for a complete of 300 days of delay for the reason that begin of the pandemic.
Based mostly on the timetable towards trial set by a earlier decide, the collection of the army officers for the jury will now begin on Nov. 7, 2021 on the earliest.
The pandemic has paralyzed a lot of the work of the court docket, whose contributors commute from the mainland to the army commissions courtroom in Cuba for every session. The final listening to within the case was held in February by Choose W. Shane Cohen, who abruptly introduced his retirement a month later and has taken a place as a deputy district legal professional in Salt Lake County, Utah.
Hijackers seized management of 4 business plane on Sept. 11, 2001 and crashed them into the World Commerce Middle, the Pentagon and right into a Pennsylvania subject, killing 2,976 folks. Mr. Mohammed, his nephew and three different males are accused of organizing the plot by coaching or choosing the hijackers or by aiding them to succeed in america with financing and journey preparations.
To this point, six judges have served on the case for the reason that defendants have been arraigned in 2012. Choose Watkins, who’s the chief army commissions decide and is predicated at Fort Hood, Texas, is now presiding after twice attempting to switch Colonel Cohen.
In October, he assigned Lt. Col. Matthew N. McCall of the Air Pressure to preside, however prosecutors protested that Colonel McCall was unqualified to serve as a result of he had served lower than two years as a decide within the army’s court-martial system, a prerequisite for presiding at a army fee. A current court docket submitting confirmed that, after prosecutors protested, Colonel Watkins sought a written waiver of the requirement from the Deputy Secretary of Protection, David L. Norquist, who refused.
Earlier, a Marine decide with childhood ties to New York Metropolis, Col. Stephen F. Keane, obtained the project however recused himself inside weeks after discovering “a big private connection to individuals who have been instantly affected by the occasions of 9/11.”
The pandemic has compelled cancellation of all hearings within the case, which recessed within the midst of the decide taking in depth testimony on the query of whether or not key interrogations of the prisoners at Guantánamo in 2007 are inadmissible at trial as a result of they’re tainted by C.I.A. torture.
The pandemic has sophisticated different facets of making ready for the joint conspiracy trial.
One of many accused, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, has not but met his death-penalty lawyer, who was assigned to the case in April. The lawyer, David I. Bruck, has mentioned in a court docket submitting that, as soon as he has met with Mr. bin al-Shibh, he would wish 30 months to organize for trial.
One possibility can be to drop Mr. bin al-Shibh from the case, and provides him a separate trial later, one thing the primary decide did for a time in 2014 earlier than reversing himself as a result of the prosecutors objected. Even so, the newest litigation order postpones the beginning of any model of the case till November on the earliest.