9/11 Detainees Postpone Guilty Pleas At Guantánamo

December 8, 2008 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

ACLU Says Flawed System Must Be Scrapped

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba – After expressing their desire to plead guilty at a Guantánamo military commission hearing earlier today, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and two other detainees charged with crimes related to the 9/11 attacks said they would postpone entering pleas until the competency of two additional co-defendants is determined. Outstanding questions remain about whether the death penalty can be imposed if the defendants plead guilty.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union who is at Guantánamo observing today’s proceedings:

“This afternoon’s hearing was just another chapter in the Guantánamo military commissions debacle. Neither the military judge nor the accused are clear about how these proceedings will move forward. What is abundantly clear is that no matter how hard the government tries to advance the military commissions, this process doesn’t work. Questions of the death penalty and the competence of several of the defendants are still unresolved – and not likely to be resolved. The only solution is to shut the military commissions down and start from scratch.”

The ACLU John Adams Project, a partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has sponsored expert civilian counsel who are assisting the under-resourced military defense counsel for these detainees. More information is available online at: www.aclu.org/johnadams

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release