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Families face deadly mastermind at Guantanamo hearing

Video by James CREEDON

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2008-12-09

Relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks in the United States have arrived at the US naval base in Cuba to observe the trial of five men accused over the attacks, including their self-confessed mastermind.

 

Family members of the victims of 9/11 have arrived at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ahead of the trial before a military tribunal of five detainees charged with orchestrating those attacks.

 

Maureen and Al Santora, are among those chosen to observe the trial of the self-confessed mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and his alleged co-conspirators.

 

The defendants told a U.S. military judge on Monday that they  wanted to confess and plead guilty to terrorism charges that could result in their execution, although legal wrangling has put this process on hold.

 

According to Reuters, the five wrote in a note to the judge that they had made their decision to plead guilty on Nov. 4, the day Barack Obama was elected to become the next U.S. president.

 

Obama has said he will shut down the widely condemned Guantanamo prison camp and try detainees in the regular U.S. civilian or military courts, rather than the special Guantanamo tribunals created by the Bush administration.

Details of lesser importance to the Santoras, who are finally able to see in the flesh the men who claim to have killed their son, Christopher, a 23-year-old fireman trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Centre in New York City.

 

"I was very relieved that they publicly admitted that without being coerced, that the truth was finally out," said Maureen.

 

The couple brought photos with them, not just of their son but of 30 other firefighters killed in the New York attack.

 

Separated from the defendants by a glass wall and sitting with journalists on Monday, they watched Khalid Sheikh Mohammed repeat his desire for martyrdom.

 

While Maureen would prefer to have him kept alive, reflecting on his crimes in a jail cell, Al has a more pointed suggestion: "I would just go out and buy that 45 calibre bullet and put it in the brain and it's all over."


Date created : 2008-12-09

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