The man accused of being the mastermind behind the September 11 terror attacks is to finally face trial in New York, the U.S. Attorney General said today. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four suspects accused of the plot will be moved from Guantanamo Bay within weeks.
U.S. President Barack Obama said they will face 'exacting' justice.
Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the decision this afternoon. He told reporters he expects prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
Any trial of the men accused of plotting the attacks on U.S. soil will be seen as hugely symbolic in America, still feeling the painful after-effects more than eight years on.
The fact that the trials are due to be set in New York, just a few blocks from where nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, will only heighten the emotion surrounding the case.
The actual transfer of the detainees from Guantanamo to New York isn't expected to happen for many more weeks because formal charges have not been filed against most of them.
Bringing such notorious suspects to U.S. soil to face trial is also a key step in President Barack Obama's plan to close Guantanamo.
Mr Obama initially planned to close the detention centre by January 22, but the administration is no longer expected to meet that deadline.
The New York case may also force the court system to finally confront allegations of torture used on terror suspects while in CIA custody.
The most severe method - waterboarding, or simulated drowning - was used on Mohammed 183 times in 2003, before the practice was banned.
Holder will also announce that a major suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, will face justice before a military commission.
He is to name a handful of other detainees who will be brought before such a commission.
Bin Attash, a Yemeni, allegedly ran an al-Qaida training camp in Logar, Afghanistan, where two of the 19 hijackers were trained. Bin Attash is believed to have been bin Laden's bodyguard. Authorities say bin Laden selected him as a hijacker, but he was prevented from participating when he was briefly detained in Yemen in early 2001.
Binalshibh, a Yemeni, allegedly helped find flight schools for the hijackers, helped them enter the United States and assisted with financing the operation. He allegedly was selected to be a hijacker and made a "martyr video" in preparation for the operation, but was unable to get a U.S. visa. He also is believed to be a lead operative for a foiled plot to crash aircraft into London's Heathrow Airport.
Ali allegedly helped nine of the hijackers travel to the United States and sent them $120,000 for expenses and flight training. He is believed to have served as a key lieutenant to Mohammed in Pakistan. He was born in Pakistan and raised in Kuwait.
Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, a Saudi, allegedly helped the hijackers with money, western clothing, traveler's checks and credit cards. Al-Hawsawi testified in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, saying he had seen Moussaoui at an al-Qaida guesthouse in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in early 2001, but was never introduced to him or conducted operations with him.
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