Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, will be formally arraigned -- along with four alleged co-conspirators -- in a military court at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba on Saturday.
The five accused terrorist plotters will answer charges that carry the death penalty. And even though Mohammed has said he wanted to be a martyr for his role in the attacks, he and the others may fight the case against them.
Jim Harrington, a civilian lawyer representing co-defendant Ramzi Binalshibh, said his client had no intention of pleading guilty, the Associated Press reported. I don't think anyone is going to plead guilty, he said.
At the arraignment in Guantanamo Bay, the defendants will be asked if they understand the charges and whether they are satisfied with their legal counsel, Bloomberg reported. A trial may take a year to get under way.
Each defendant -- Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, as well as Binalshibh and Mohammed -- faces charges of terrorism, aircraft hijacking, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians and civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.
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The Sept. 11 attacks -- consisting of four hijacked commercial airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Arlington County, Va., and a field in Pennsylvania -- resulted in 2,976 deaths.
If any or all of the defendants plead not guilty, then the issue of torture is expected to play a major role in the case. Under 2009 changes to military-commission operations, any statements obtained by torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment must be excluded from a military commission. Mohammed is perhaps the most high-profile detainee to face the Bush administration's enhanced interrogation techniques, as he was waterboarded, or subjected to simulated drowning, 183 times.
The charges against the 9/11 conspirators are the second attempt to try them for the 9/11 attacks. President Barack Obama had wanted Mohammed tried in a civilian federal court in New York, but the plan was withdrawn after elected officials and residents of downtown Manhattan objected to the trial.