GOP Victory Forces Obama Retreat on US Trial for 9/11 Mastermind

Saturday, 13 Nov 2010 11:11 AM

 

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks probably will remain in military detention without trial for the foreseeable future, The Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing Obama administration officials.

The administration has concluded that it cannot put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on trial in federal court in New York City because of opposition from members of Congress and local officials, the Post said.

There is also little support within the administration for a military prosecution at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, over concerns it would alienate liberal supporters, the paper reported.

Mohammed was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and has been imprisoned at Guantanamo.

The administration asserts that it can hold Mohammed and other accused al-Qaida operatives under the laws of war, a principle that has been upheld by the courts when Guantanamo detainees have challenged their detention.

Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this week he was close to deciding where Mohammed would be tried and whether he would face a military tribunal.

Holder's initial plan to try Mohammed and four other accused plotters in New York federal court was put on hold after local officials and lawmakers in Congress raised security concerns.

The Post said administration officials acknowledge that a trial is unlikely to happen before the next presidential election in 2012 and would require a different political environment after Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives in last week's elections.

Republicans have demanded Guantanamo suspects be given military trials, which limit some of their legal rights.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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