US weighs 9/11 military trials

Obama administration may reverse plans for trying 2001 attack suspects in civilian court.

    The Obama administration plans to prosecute almost three dozen suspects held at Guantanamo Bay [AFP]

    Opposition from Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, and legislators in Washington prompted a change in plans.

    A reversal on the 9/11 trial would represent the latest backtracking on an issue that Barack Obama, the US president, said had damaged perceptions of the US abroad.

    The possible shift won plaudits from Republicans as a "step in the right direction" but they signalled they would continue to push Obama for more, including keeping open the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, despite his pledge to shut the controversial facility.

    New legislation

    When Obama took office in January 2009, he set a one-year deadline to close the Guantanamo but various political and diplomatic complications have arisen to force a delay.

    Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators offered legislation aimed at forcing the administration to prosecute terrorism suspects, like Mohammed, in the military system.

    That legislation, along with local opposition to the New York trials, has caught the Obama administration off guard and forced the reconsideration.

    The administration plans to prosecute almost three dozen terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay but has not announced where all the trials will be held and whether they will be criminal or military.

    So far, only one Guantanamo detainee, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, has been sent to federal criminal court for trial.

    He has been accused of being involved in the bombings of US embassies in Africa.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.