A group of eight New York lawmakers have written to US Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concern about plans to prosecute the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks in Manhattan.
The members of the House of Representatives and state officials, said they agreed with President Barack Obama's decision to prosecute five men accused of the attacks before a civilian court.
But they warned that the courthouse selected for the trial, just steps from the site of the World Trade Centers among the attack's targets, was poorly chosen.
"We are concerned that the administration has not fully considered the impact that the trials would have on lower Manhattan," the lawmakers wrote.
"Indeed, the lower Manhattan neighborhoods in which this courthouse is located are only now recovering from the physical, emotional and financial devastation caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and therefore the impacts of this trial site choice are likely to be extremely burdensome."
The letter requested Holder's office examine alternative courthouses in the same court district and asked to meet with the attorney general to discuss the plans.
Signatories to the letter included Democratic Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez and the speaker of New York State's assembly, Sheldon Silver.
The lawmakers are the latest to express concern about the administration's plan to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the 2001 attacks, and four other co-accused to Manhattan for trial.
On Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, expressed his opposition to the idea, reversing his initial support.
"It's going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people," he told a news conference.
But White House spokesman Bill Burton said Thursday that Obama's support for the plan remained unchanged.
Obama believes that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed "and others can be litigated successfully and securely in the United States of America, just like others have," Burton said.
"Currently our federal jails hold hundreds of convicted terrorists, and the president's opinion has not changed on that."
© AFP 2013