US Informs Families 9/11 Defendants Could Avoid Death Penalty

The Pentagon and FBI informed 9/11 victims’ families that alleged defendants might not receive the death penalty.

This week, families impacted by the 9/11 tragedy were sent a government letter indicating that Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind and his co-defendants, might not be subject to the death penalty.

While the letters were delivered this week, they bore the date of August 1, a year and a half after military prosecutors and defense lawyers initially started discussing a potential negotiated resolution for the case.

The letter stated, “The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has been negotiating and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements. While no plea agreement has been finalized and may never be finalized, it is possible that a PTA, in this case, would remove the possibility of the death penalty.”

Mohammad’s trial, as well as the trials of four other detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, has faced extensive postponements and legal disputes. These disputes have revolved primarily around the legal ramifications of the men’s initial torture during their CIA interrogations.

The U.S. 9/11 Commission established that Mohammed was the key figure who initially proposed a coordinated assault on the United States to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden authorized Mohammed to orchestrate what eventually evolved into the 9/11 attacks.

The remaining four individuals are charged with offering different types of assistance to the Islamic hijackers.

Additional 9/11 relatives, belonging to a network of families advocating for answers and accountability over time, expressed their intention to demand the opportunity to question the defendants about the extent of any potential official Saudi involvement in 9/11 as part of a plea agreement.

Peter Brady, who received a letter and lost his father in the attacks, shared his comments with the media.

Brady said, “It’s about holding people responsible, and they’re taking that away with this plea. The case needs to go through the legal process, not be settled in a plea deal.”

Defense lawyers and judges have rotated during the case, grappling with the legal and logistical complexities of the military trial.

A considerable portion of the hearings has been mired in legal disagreements concerning the extent to which the testimony should be dismissed due to the defendants’ prior torture while in CIA custody.

No trial date has been established at this point.