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Trial date finally set for ‘principal architect’ of 9/11 attacks

2019-08-30

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, is seen shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan in 2003. (AP)

The alleged mastermind of the worst terror attack in American history will face a U.S. military trial in 2021, a judge said Friday.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has been described as the “principal architect” of the 9/11 attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead in Manhattan, Washington and Pennsylvania in 2001, will start his death penalty trial Jan. 11, 2021, at the Guantanamo Bay military complex, according to a scheduling order by U.S. Air Force Judge Col W. Shane Cohen.

Mohammed will appear at the trial with four other men accused of helping to plot the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Cohen’s order sets into motion a lengthy process of jury selection and pretrial hearings.

Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and then spent three years held at CIA’s infamous and clandestine black sites, where detainees were brutally tortured. He was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006 and has been at the Cuban military base ever since.

Prosecutors have regularly requested trial dates since Mohammed and the four other men were arraigned in 2012, but have been rebuffed due to complications involving the case.

The five men have been charged with war crimes including terrorism, hijacking and hundreds of counts of murder. They could all receive death penalties if convicted by a military commission, which involves matter of both civilian and military law.