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Alleged 9/11 plotters arraigned before Guantanamo military commission

[JURIST] Five men charged with plotting the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive] were arraigned before a military court at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] Thursday. The group includes the alleged lead planner of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who said that he wished to represent himself and that he would welcome a death sentence as a chance to become a martyr. The Pentagon approved [JURIST report] death penalty charges against the five defendants last month. Mohammed had confessed to plotting the 9/11 attacks, but later alleged that the confession was the result of harsh interrogation tactics. At Thursday's hearing, he indicated that his confession was "mistranslated". CBC news has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

US Attorney General Michael Mukasey [JURIST news archive] anticipated Thursday's events when he warned in March that executing the Sept. 11 suspects would make them martyrs [JURIST report]. He commented Wednesday that the military commission trials would be "in the best tradition of the American legal system." The chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo Bay military commissions, US Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said that the trials of Mohammed and the other Sept. 11 suspects would be broadcast [JURIST report] live on closed-circuit television to several military bases so that the victims' families could watch. Mohammed's military defense lawyer, US Navy Capt. Prescott Prince, has expressed concern [JURIST report] that the trial will not be fair.

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