U.S. Finally Charges Key 9/11 Organizers With Crimes


It's been 11 years coming, but the United States has finally charged Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others accused in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The five, who have been detained in Guantanamo Bay for years (Mohammed was captured in 2003), face charges of "terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and destruction of property in violation of the law of war," CNN reports, citing a Department of Defense statement. The charges, which were originally filed in 2008 but withdrawn in 2010 because of questions over the location of the trial, are something of a formality. But they're still a really important step in the government's case against the people it wants to formally hold responsible for the attacks. The case will go ahead in Guantanamo Bay and carries the death penalty.

Mohammed has already reportedly admitted to orchestrating the attacks and many other plots, but he and his co-defendants haven't legally been convicted as their trial's been delayed over years of wrangling regarding what forum it should be held in. Attorney General Eric Holder announced in 2009 that the trial would take place in a civilian court in New York. But then in April, 2011, the Obama administration reversed course, announcing the trial would take place in a military court instead. Exactly one year after that announcement, the official charges have finally been filed, and the case against the 9/11 organizers can finally move forward.

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