Washington, April 5 (IANS) The United States has formally sent to trial Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged Pakistani mastermind of 9/11 terror attacks, along with four other suspected Al Qaeda militants involved in its planning. They could face the death penalty if found guilty.
The five Guantanamo Bay inmates will be tried by a military commission on charges including terrorism, hijacking, conspiracy, murder and destruction of property, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Mohammed and the four others - Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi - could face the death penalty if found guilty, Pentagon said.
The five, who are expected to be tried together, are charged with planning and executing the terror attacks of Sep 11, 2001, which saw hijacked planes strike twin towers of World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. The five suspects are to hear their charges read out before a military court within 30 days, and are expected to be asked to enter a plea.
The decision to refer the charges to a military commission comes after a lengthy legal wrangle over where the five men would face justice.
In 2009 the Obama administration tried to move their trial into US civilian courts, but reversed its decision in April 2011 after widespread opposition.
Mohammed, according to Pentagon has admitted he was responsible "from A to Z" for the 9/11 attacks. He was captured in Pakistan in March 2003 and has been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2006.
US prosecutors allege that he was involved with a host of other terrorist activities including the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl and a failed 2001 attempt to blow up an airliner using a shoe bomb.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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