FORT MEADE, Md. — All five defendants charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks refused to participate in their military arraignment at Guantanamo Bay on Saturday.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, Walid Bin Attash, Ramzi Binal Shibh, Ali Aziz Ali and Mustafa Adam al Hawsawi did not respond to the military judge’s repeated questions and had lawyers assigned to them.
Several of the suspects removed their headphones so they were unable to hear translations. Lawyers indicated one of the reasons they refused was because headphones were used in the course of their torture by the U.S. government.
The defendants were wearing white outfits. Shibh, at one point, alternatively stood up and kneeled, appearing to pray. The court waited for him to finish in silence.
Mohammad’s lawyer indicated that KSM was “deeply concerned about the fairness of the proceeding.”
Bin Attash lawyer Cheryl Bormann, who was wearing a full hijab in court, requested that prosecutors wear appropriate attire so that clients wouldn’t have to avert their eyes “for fear of committing a sin under their faith.”
KSM lawyer David Nevin asked for those present in court to be identified because of “what Mr. Muhammad has been through because of unknown shadowy people,” referring to his treatment at CIA black sites.
The trial was streamed (on a delay, for security reasons) for members of the media at Fort Meade and broadcast to several other locations in the U.S. so family members of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks could observe.
Attorney General Eric Holder had announced that KSM and the other four defendants would be tried in civilian court in the U.S. but reversed the decision following political pressure that made it nearly impossible for the trial to be held in federal court.