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US charges 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh; 4 others

April 05, 2012 03:27 IST

The United States on Wednesday charged Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks, along with four alleged plotters, vowing to seek the death penalty in a much-awaited military trial.

The other four Guantanamo Bay inmates are Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.

They will face charges including terrorism, hijacking, conspiracy, murder and destruction of property. They could face the death penalty if found guilty, the Pentagon confirmed.

Based on the allegations outlined in the chargesheets, the five accused are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and destruction of property in violation of the law of war, the Department of Defence said.

"The charges allege that the five accused are responsible for the planning and execution of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York and Washington DC, and Shanksville, Pa., resulting in the killing of 2,976 people," the Defence Department said in a statement.

In a statement, it said that the convening authority referred the case to a capital military commission, meaning that, if convicted, the five accused could be sentenced to death.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who US officials refer to simply as "KSM," has been at the centre of a years long debate over how and where to prosecute the accused plotters.

The charges have been referred to a joint trial to be held at the US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the US government has set up military commissions to try terror suspects.

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