The U.S. Defense Department has charged six detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay military facility with the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The attacks killed two-thousand-nine-hundred-seventy-three men, women, and children from the U.S. and more than ninety foreign countries.
U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann is the Legal Adviser to the Convening Authority in the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions. He said “these charges allege a long-term, highly sophisticated, organized plan by al Qaida to attack the United States of America”:
“The accused are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Bin ‘Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, and Mohammed al Kahtani. Now that sworn charges have been received, the Convening Authority will review the charges and supporting evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to refer the case to trial by military commission. . . Each of the defendants is charged under the Military Commission Act with the crime of conspiracy and with the separate substantive offenses of murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, terrorism and material support to terrorism.”
General Hartmann said “the defendants will face the possibility of being sentenced to death.” He said the rights of the accused will be respected:
“In the military commission process, every defendant has the following rights. The right to remain silent and to have no adverse inference drawn from it. The right to be represented by detailed military counsel, as well as civilian counsel of his own selection, at no expense to the government. The right to examine all evidence used against him by the prosecution. The right to obtain evidence and call witnesses on his own behalf, including expert witnesses. The right to cross-examine every witness called by the prosecution. The right to be present during the presentation of evidence. . . . The right to an appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review, then through the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals to the United States Supreme Court.”
General Hartman also said the defendants are presumed innocent:
“The accused are and will remain innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The United States is confident that these military commissions will provide the accused comprehensive procedural protections that meet or exceed international standards, while holding accountable those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.