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Gitmo defendants defiant at hearing

Jan. 20, 2009 at 9:24 AM   |   Comments

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A suspected Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist was chained to the floor and another said he welcomed death during a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military courtroom hearing.

"I really don't care whether I'm shackled or not," said Ramzi bin al-Shibh, whose U.S.-appointed attorneys said may be mentally unable to stand trial in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the Miami Herald reported Tuesday. Upon orders of the judge, Navy guard removed the chains that held his ankles firm to an eye bolt inside the courtroom.

Judge Stephen Henley, an Army colonel, handled procedural issues in the case against five men for which the Pentagon seeks military execution. Henley denied a request by the chief Pentagon prosecutor to postpone this week's session until after the new administration takes over. Barack Obama's lawyers indicated they may seek to change -- and possibly abandon -- the system for trying suspected Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists.

Monday's was the fifth hearing in the case, which accuses the five of financing, training and orchestrating the 19 men who hijacked the airliners for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror group.

All five men were held and interrogated for years by the CIA before their September 2006 transfer for trial at Guantanamo Bay, and several asked the judge to exclude their American lawyers from the defense tables.

"The people who have tortured me received their salaries from the American government, and the lawyers do, too," Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind, said.

"We don't care about the capital punishment," Mohammed said. "We are doing jihad for the cause of God."

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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