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9/11 Trials Could Switch to Military Commissions

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By Kamika Dunlap on March 05, 2010 10:15 AM

In a decision that could reverse prosecuting the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 and others in civilian courtrooms, White House advisers may recommend switching to military commissions instead.

According to the Washington Post, President Obama's advisers are coming close to finalizing their recommendations on a plan for Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be tried before a military court, turning back a plan by Attorney General Eric Holder to hold the 9/11 trials in a New York civilian court.

They hope to finalize their plan by March 18.

If the Obama administration accepts the recommendation, it could secure funding and the legal authority needed to finally shutdown Guantanamo Bay, military prison in Cuba and replace it with a facility in the United States.

As previously discussed many Republicans, and New York City business leaders and residents have urged the Obama administration to rethink its plan. They are pushing for a military instead of a civilian trial.

In addition, New York police have estimated the cost to the city would exceed $200 million per year, as previously discussed.

Still, some lawmakers say making the decision on whether to proceed with a federal trial or military commissions should be based on what is right and not what is politically advantageous.

Furthermore, many civil liberty groups say they had hoped to see the dismantling of military tribunals developed during the Bush administration.

If there is a change of plans, prosecutors would have to start back at square one.

Military lawyers said they simply cannot reconstitute the case the government dropped in January but instead would need to re-arraign Mohammed and the others.

The lawyers from the Justice Department were preparing for a civilian trial and planned to avoid using evidence obtained coercive interrogation. They still however, can provide the information they've prepared to be used to try the case in military commission.

 

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