Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for Terror Suspects

February 12, 2008 07:55 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Six men held at Guantanamo in connection with 9/11 face criminal charges. But critics question the legality of the military court that will try them.

30-Second Summary

Military prosecutors will demand the death penalty for the six high-profile Guantanamo detainees being charged with planning and executing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

Among the suspects is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has reportedly confessed to planning 9/11 and beheading the U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.

However, seeking capital punishment may slow down a process already fraught with difficulties, The New York Times reports.

The military court that will hear the cases was established specifically to try suspected terrorists.

But the legality of both the tribunal system and the detention of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay have been challenged in U.S. courts.

In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is illegal for U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist activity to be held indefinitely and without trial.

And a 2006 Supreme Court decision declared that the Guantanamo military commission that preceded the one currently in place did not comply with either U.S. military law or the Geneva Convention.

In addition, top U.S. officials have in the past called for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Civil rights groups have argued that the Bush administration’s war on terror jeopardizes civil liberties, and that the Guantanamo detainees are being held illegally.

The administration and its supporters have argued that the nature of the terrorist threat justifies special measures, and that the Guantanamo tribunal system does comply with U.S. law.

Headline Links: Prosecutors to seek death penalty

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