'Sept. 11 mastermind to remain in jail without trial'

US officials: Khalid Sheik Mohammed cannot be tried due to opposition of lawmakers in Congress and in New York, 'Washington Post' reports.

November 13, 2010 10:03
2 minute read.
'Sept. 11 mastermind to remain in jail without trial'

khalid mohammed 298.88. (photo credit: AP)


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Khalid Sheik Mohammed, considered the mastermind behind the 2001 September 11 attacks, is likely to remain in military detention without going through a trial in the near future, according to officials in the Obama administration, The Washington Post reported Friday night.

The administration has determined that Mohammed cannot be put on trial in a federal court due to the opposition of lawmakers in Congress and in New York.

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Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the trial of the professed mastermind shouldn't be held in New York state. There has also been little internal support for restarting a military trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as this option would alienate liberal supporters, said The Washington Post.

Attorney General Eric Holder originally proposed trying Mohammed and four alleged accomplices in Manhattan federal court. But the administration backtracked after New Yorkers and elected officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, objected to the costs and potential security threat.

Cuomo told reporters Friday he knows Holder and has worked with him. He said he would "advocate forcefully" to keep the trial out of New York state altogether.

Washington has indicated that President Barack Obama will ultimately have the final say regarding the trial, and a federal prosecution of Mohammed has not been discounted, said senior US officials. However, a trial is unlikely to take place before the next presidential election, the officials said.

Earlier this week, Holder said he would choose a venue for the trial soon.

Holder "says soon. Schumer says never. It's somewhere between the two," a senior administration official told The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.

Mohammed was detained in Pakistan in March 2003 and was kept at secret CIA jails overseas until he was brought to Guantanamo Bay in September 2006.

In March 2007, the Pentagon issued a statement in which Mohammed confessed to the beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl, and to having a central role in 30 other attacks and plots in the US and worldwide that killed thousands of victims.

"I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan," Mohammed told the military.

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