Military defense lawyer for alleged 9/11 mastermind worried about trial fairness

[JURIST] Navy Captain Prescott Prince [Miami Herald profile, PDF], the military-appointed lawyer [JURIST report] for confessed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], has expressed concern over the fairness of his client's upcoming military commission trial. In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Prince said that the possibility that the government will introduce as evidence statements made by Mohammed obtained by harsh interrogation tactics, including waterboarding [JURIST news archive], could undermine the legitimacy of the trial. Prince noted that in civilian courts statements made to officials while under coercion are not admissible, but that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text] allows admission of such statements during military commission trials. Prince also expressed concern in the interview that he would be prevented from cross-examining the witnesses against Mohammed and from reviewing all the evidence brought by the government. A trial date has not yet been set.

Mohammed admitted under oath during his first hearing [JURIST report] before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) [DOD backgrounder] in March 2007 that he masterminded the 9/11 attacks [JURIST report]. In February, the US government said it would seek the death penalty [JURIST report] for Mohammed and five other Guantanamo detainees accused of involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. CNN has more.

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