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September 11 Terror Trials Will Not Be Held in Manhattan

Monday, April 04, 2011

The accused mastermind behind the September 11 terror attacks and his alleged co-conspirators will not be tried at a federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan and will instead face a military court at Guantanamo Bay.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused terror attack mastermind, and four additional suspects will not face trial in civilian court just blocks from the World Trade Center and will instead be tried in a system of military commissions.

The victims' families have sought justice for nearly a decade, and "it must not be delayed any longer," Holder said Monday.

The Obama administration that was roundly criticized by politicians, victims' family members and those who feared the trial posed a significant security risk when it announced plans to hold the trial in New York City in November 2009.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who initially supporting having the trial in New York, since reversed his support. He said Monday that he supported the decision to move the trials out of Manhattan.

"While we would have provided the security if we had to here in New York City, being spared the expense is good for us," Bloomberg said. "I happen to think that it's probably more appropriate to do it in a secure area with a military tribunal. ... From what I've read about military tribunals, they are a different form of legal system, but something that this country can implement and not be ashamed of it."

Community leader Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1, said she is relieved the trial will not be held in her district, but she's disappointed with the administrations decision and questions the legality of a trial in Guantanamo.

"I'm very happy that this trial is not being held in our community," she said. "This is a huge win for Lower Manhattan. We had the courage to stand up to Washington and say, 'Your plan does not make any sense, and we're not going to allow it to happen in our neighborhood.'"

With reporting by Stephen Nessen and Brian Zumhagen

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Comments [3]

Bill S

What a shame! We look like less of a "shining city on a hill" for failing to treat these folks as ordinary criminals who should get their ordinary day in court.

Apr. 06 2011 08:36 AM
k webster from nyc

The decision not to hold the trials here would play better if in the same breath we made known our unstinting opposition to the wars now raging. To ask our service people and the civilians of other countries to make all the sacrifices and endure all the damage of these wars while we avoid any of it lacks integrity.
We are either in it as a nation or we aren't.

Apr. 05 2011 03:21 PM
Lenore from Upper West Side

From a civil liberties point of view, this is a wretched decision--military commissions are NOT civilian trials--FEDERAL trials--which follow the rule of law (the admissibility of hearsay evidence, for example). To put the entire system of "justice" in the hands of the military is just wrong.

The NYPD statement that 2000 checkpoints would be needed just shocked everyone, unnecessarily. When Gailani was on trial, hardly anybody even knew it.

And the US is going even deeper into Bush-2 systems with the provision for indefinite detention for 47 of the current detainees.

Shameful.

Apr. 05 2011 10:44 AM

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