Judge severs case of 1 of 5 defendants facing trial at Guantanamo in Sept. 11 attack

The Associated Press
July 25, 2014 08:40 AM

FILE - This undated handout photo, made available on Sept. 21, 2001, shows Ramzi Binalshibh in an unkown location. Binalshibh and the four others are facing trial by military commission at the U.S. base in Cuba for planning and aiding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Army Col. James Pohl ruled Thursday, July 24, 2014, that Binalshibh should get a separate war crimes trial because legal issues that apply only to him are preventing the case from moving forward against the other defendants. (AP Photo/File)

MIAMI - A military judge has ruled that one of five prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay naval base charged in the Sept. 11 attack should be tried separately from his co-defendants.

Army Col. James Pohl ruled Thursday that Ramzi Binalshibh should get a separate war crimes trial because legal issues that apply only to him are preventing the case from moving forward against the other defendants.

Binalshibh, of Yemen, and the four others are facing trial by military commission at the U.S. base in Cuba for planning and aiding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. They could get the death penalty if convicted. A trial date has not been set.

The case has bogged down over whether Binalshibh is mentally competent to stand trial and whether an investigation of defence team members has compromised his legal representation. Pohl said neither issue will be resolved soon.

Prosecutors had opposed severing any of the defendants from the case and had argued in court papers that all five played significant roles in the terrorist attacks. Binalshibh's lead defence attorney, James Harrington, said his client preferred to be tried with the co-defendants, one of whom is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Pakistani who is the self-proclaimed mastermind of the plot.

James Connell, a lawyer for Pakistani defendant Ammar al-Baluchi said the ruling to sever one defendant will likely allow the proceedings to move forward. A weeklong pretrial hearing is scheduled to start Aug. 11. "We can now return to the legal issues regarding the military commissions instead of the legal issues regarding Mr. Binalshibh."


© Coast Reporter
Coast Reporter

Email to a Friend

Close

QUESTION OF THE WEEK POLL

Are you pleased with the shíshálh’s announcement to protect the lower slopes of Mount Elphinstone?

or  view results

Click here to read story

Popular Coast Reporter

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.