Five charged in 9/11 attack resist Gitmo hearing



Five charged in 9/11 attack resist Gitmo hearing Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba): The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks repeatedly declined to answer a judge's questions on Saturday and his co-defendants knelt in prayer in what appeared to be a concerted protest against the military proceedings.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men appeared for the first time in more than three years for arraignment at a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, charged with 2,976 counts of murder for the 2001 attacks.

The hearing quickly bogged down before they could be arraigned. The men took off the earphones that provide Arabic translations and refused to answer any questions from the judge, Army Col James Pohl, dramatically slowing a hearing that is heavy on military legal procedure.

At one point, two defendants got up and prayed alongside their defense tables under the watchful eyes of troops arrayed along the sides of the high-security courtroom on the US base in Cuba.

Prisoner Walid bin Attash was put in a restraint chair for unspecified reasons and then removed from it after he agreed to behave. Lawyers for all defendants complained that the prisoners were prevented from wearing the civilian clothes of their choice.

Mohammed wore a white turban in court; his flowing beard, which had appeared to be graying in earlier hearings and photos, was streaked with red henna.

Mohammed's civilian lawyer, David Nevin, said he believed Mohammed was not responding because he believes the tribunal is unfair.

Jim Harrington, a civilian attorney for Yemeni defendant Ramzi Binalshibh, said his client would not respond to questions "without addressing the issues of confinement." No further explanation was given.

Pohl warned he would not permit defendants to block the hearing and would continue without his participation. "One cannot choose not to participate and frustrate the normal course of business," Pohl said.

PTI