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US: New Round of Preliminary Hearings for 9/11 Suspects | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The exterior of Camp Delta is seen at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. Reuters

Washington- The US military court at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba will begin on Monday a new round of hearings on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The five defendants Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdulaziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi will appear in the courtroom next to their defense teams.
Some of the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks will also be present.
The five detainees at Guantanamo face seven charges, which are conspiring to plan attacks with senior al-Qaeda leaders, attacking civilians, murdering civilians in violation of the laws of war and the charge of terrorism.
Bin Attash, Binalshibh and Abdulaziz Ali were accused of plotting to the hijacking of four planes (two of which hit the World Trade Center in New York, one that hit the Pentagon building and the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania). They were also charged with attacking civilian buildings and destroying property. The five defendants face the death penalty if convicted.
The defense teams, that were provided by the US Department of Defense – both military and civilian lawyers – are working on refuting the charges, questioning the circumstances of the conspiracy and the extent to which the laws of war were violated, based on the fact that the United States was not at war with al-Qaeda, denying the charge of terrorism and showing the harsh method of treatment faced by the detainees to extract confessions from them.
Ali Abdulaziz Ali, aka Ammar al-Baluchi, is one of the five conspirators of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. He is the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the US authorities consider the mastermind of the attacks, and his right arm.
Baluchi was born and raised in Kuwait. He played a major role in financing the hijacking as he sent $120,000 for the hijackers to spend on flight training and helped nine of them travel to the United States.
Asharq Al-Awsat met with Attorney Alka Pradhan, who is one of the lawyers in the defense team of Baluchi in Washington, before traveling to the military base in Guantanamo to participate in the preliminary hearing sessions.
Alka works with four other lawyers in Baluchi’s defense team, each of whom conducts research, prepares notes or contacts with the concerned authorities.
Despite the horrors of the September 11 attacks, the death of more than 3,000 people and the importance of bringing those responsible to justice, the lawyer’s job is to exert all efforts and provide as much available evidence to lower the sentence and seek a glimmer of hope for the accused.
On this basis, she works with her colleagues to try to question the right to consider the case before a court of war and to question Baluchi’s confessions when he was interrogated by the US intelligence in “Black Sites.”
She told Asharq Al-Awsat that she hopes some of the charges against Baluchi and his co-conspirators would be dropped and the death penalty avoided based on the fact that torture has affected his mental capacity and memory, and that confessions obtained under duress can not be relied upon.