9/11 ‘mastermind’ refuses to speak, other defendants disruptive at Guantanamo hearing
The self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks repeatedly declined to answer a judge’s questions 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. They’re charged with 2,976 counts of murder for the 2001 attacks.
The hearing quickly bogged down before they could be arraigned.
Mohammed and his co-defendants 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 of the men got up and prayed alongside their defence tables under the watchful eyes of troops arrayed along the sides of the high-security courtroom on the U.S. 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; and lawyers for all defendants complained that the prisoners were prevented from wearing the civilian clothes of their choice.