The arraignment of five Guantanamo prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks got off to a rocky start on Saturday when the defendants removed their earphones and refused to listen to a translation of the judge’s questions.
Star defendant Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the confessed mastermind of the September 11 hijacked plane attacks, refused to respond to the judge’s questions about whether he was satisfied with his U.S. military and civilian lawyers.
“I believe Mr. Mohammed will decline to address the court. I believe he’s deeply concerned about the fairness of the proceeding,” said his civilian lawyer, David Nevin.
The lawyer for another of the accused, Walid bin Attash, then asked if cuffs could be taken off his client, saying he was “in pain.” The judge ordered them taken off after receiving assurances Attash would “behave appropriately.”
Ramzi Binalshibh, another of the accused, suddenly stood up and began to pray, interrupting the proceedings by alternately kneeling and rising.
They could get the death penalty if convicted in the attacks that sent hijacked airliners slamming into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
In 2008, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad expressed his desire to get the death penalty saying, “This is what I want, I’m looking to be martyr for long time.”
However, Shaykh Usama bin Ladin has warned al-Qaeda will execute Americans if the US executes the defendants.
“The White House has declared its wish to execute them. The day the United States takes such a decision, it would be also taking the decision that any of you falling into our hands will be executed,” he said in an audio address to the American people in 2010.