Page 2 of 2   <      

Officials Expecting Halt to 9/11 Proceedings

Relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks attended proceedings for the second time, and some of them were struck by the minutiae that came up in court.

At one point, Mohammed disputed a claim by the prosecution that cushions were provided to the defendants to compensate for the time they spent sitting on hard benches in a van that takes them to court. "It's not true that they put cushions," Mohammed said.

"It's slow-going, but we're patient," said Jimmy Riches, a retired New York City firefighter, who carried the body of his son Jimmy, also a firefighter, from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Among the 779 people who have passed through Guantanamo, three have had trials. Riches said he had no objection to the Obama administration moving the proceeding to another court as long as a fair proceeding is followed by the death penalty for defendants who, he noted, have admitted they helped organize the attacks.

Not all relatives of 9/11 victims agreed. "Mr. Obama needs to reexamine his stance and he needs to keep these tribunals going," said Donald Arias, a retired Air Force officer who lost his brother Adam in the attack on New York.

Another of the defendants, Ramzi Binalshibh, said in court Monday: "We are proud of 9/11."

Obama's administration will face a thicket of legal, logistical and diplomatic hurdles to achieve its aims, including deciding whether to halt the imminent trial of Omar Khadr, the Canadian, who was 15 when he was detained in Afghanistan. The administration is under pressure from rights groups not to allow the trial of someone who was a "child soldier" at the time of his capture.

If Khadr's trial goes ahead next Monday, the Obama administration will find it difficult if not impossible to transfer him to another legal forum because of double jeopardy, defense attorneys said.

<       2

© 2009 The Washington Post Company