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20 Years After 9/11, Victim Families May Finally Get a Trial

5 3 24

Twenty years after the 9/11 hijackings, the U.S. government still hasn’t brought the five men accused of conspiring in the terrorist attacks to justice. And as pre-trial hearings begin this month at Guantanamo Bay, the case is running into roadblocks already, leaving family members of 9/11 victims once again waiting.

Much like the last decade, the case is running into issues with the current judge. The ongoing pre-trial hearings, which kicked off in earnest last week, have already been delayed by the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review ruling on a challenge to the judge selection process.

The hiccup comes as no surprise to the family members of the 9/11 victims—the entire case has been marred by setbacks and a lack of continuity since the men, including accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, were brought to Guantanamo Bay years ago. The pre-trial hearings are only beginning this month, but the men accused in the case were arraigned in 2012. The hearings taking place now have been delayed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already the case has had four judges. Last year the judge on the case, Col. W. Shane Cohen, announced he was retiring. The current judge, Air Force Col. Matthew McCall, began presiding over the case for the first time just last week.

The way the U.S. government has tried to hold these men accountable has been a disappointment to the families of 9/11 victims, says Terry Rockefeller, whose sister, Laura, was killed on 9/11 while working a two-day job in the World Trade Center.

“When the arraignment happened in May of 2012 they said, ‘Well it’ll be about a year before the trial starts,’ and then two years later they were saying, ‘Well it’ll be about two years.’ And right now I’m feeling like it’s nine-and-a-half years later, it’s probably going to be nine-and-a-half years [more],” Rockefeller told The Daily Beast. “It is an ever-receding horizon.”

The gaps and postponements have spanned multiple administrations. But now that the war in Afghanistan is over, and the 20th anniversary of the attacks are upon the nation, several family members of 9/11........

© The Daily Beast

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