Tropical storm forces delay of 9/11 trial

9/11 trial that was set to begin Thursday has been postponed because of incoming tropical storm Isaac.

Updated: Aug 24, 2012, 00:49 AM IST

Washington: A military commission hearing of suspects of 9/11 terrorist attacks, including alleged mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, that was set to begin Thursday has been postponed because of incoming tropical storm Isaac, the US defense department said Thursday.

According to the American Forces Press, the information wing of the Pentagon, lawyers, observers and media personnel Thursday were leaving Naval Station Guantanamo in Cuba, where the trial is being held, after base commanding officer recommended their evacuation ahead of tropical storm Isaac`s projected path to Cuba, reported Xinhua.

Military Commission`s Judge James Pohl postponed hearings of five accused 9/11 detainees that were scheduled to begin in the day, and no new date was set for the hearings.

Pohl said he based the decision on impending weather conditions, concern for the safety and welfare of personnel, and a recommendation by the station`s commanding officer, Navy Capt. John Nettleton.

The hearing was for Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and four others. It was originally scheduled to begin Wednesday.

But a coal-train derailment in suburban Baltimore, killed two young women and damaged fiber-optic lines that carry internet traffic to and from Guantanamo Bay.

The damage caused loss of internet connectivity for the base and for the Office of Military Commission, and it hindered the ability of the defence team, according to an emergency motion filed by the team.

Since becoming a tropical storm Tuesday, Isaac has been spinning to the west across the eastern Caribbean. It could reach hurricane status on Friday.

Bands of rain and gusty winds are expected in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Thursday into Friday as Isaac passes to the south. Flash flooding, river flooding and mudslides are all possible.

It could also threaten Florida, where Republicans are holding their national convention next week.