9/11 Suspects, Now Eligible for Death Penalty, Could Be Arraigned Soon

The convening authority of the Office of Military Commissions referred the case Wednesday

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    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators

    The Department of Defense says charges have been referred to a capital military commission against five alleged 9/11 co-conspirators, making them eligible for the death penalty.

    The announcement comes more than 10 years after the attacks and nearly a year after military prosecutors filed charges against all five suspects: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.

    They are charged with planning and executing the disaster that killed nearly 3,000 people, the majority in New York City.

    The move Wednesday means that the convening authority has agreed the men should stand trial. The trial will take place at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    The next step is for the chief judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary to assign a military judge to the case and a date will be set for their arraignment.

    Under the rules, the men are supposed to be arraigned within 30 days of being served the charges.

    The men were similarly charged years ago, but the charges were dropped in 2009 when President Barack Obama ordered a review of the Military Commissions process, hoping to move the trial to a civilian court.

    That plan was eventually withdrawn, in part because the administration's plans to try the suspects in federal court in lower Manhattan drew opposition from downtown residents and political leaders, including Mayor Bloomberg.

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