Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, and four co-conspirators were brought in front of a judge for an arraignment on Saturday, and things went about as well as one would expect. The arraignment was the first step in the trial eleven years in the making for the five credited with the 9/11 attacks. During Saturday's proceedings Mohammed refused to answer any of the judge's questions and the defense lawyers complained about the way their clients were being treated.
From the AP's recap:
One prisoner, Walid bin Attash was put in a restraint chair for unspecified reasons, while lawyers for all defendants complained that the prisoners were prevented from wearing the civilian clothes of their choice and the self-described architect of the attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, refused to respond to questions.
The judge didn't buy Mohammed's lawyer's defense of his client's silence. After Mohammed's lawyer said he thinks Mohammed wouldn't speak because he believes the tribunal to be unfair, the judge responded, "One cannot choose not to participate and frustrate the normal course of business." The defendants didn't enter a plea on Saturday. The case is being tried by a military commission, so typically, "the judge reads the charges, makes sure the accused understand their rights and then moves on to procedural issues." Lawyers weren't able to disclose how their clients would plea because of secrecy laws surrounding the case.
This is just the beginning of what is going to be a drawn out affair, according the defense lawyers involved with the case. This is "only the beginning of a trial that will take years to complete, followed by years of appellate review," said one. "I can’t imagine any scenario where this thing gets wrapped up in six months," said another.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.