For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

James Freedland, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

9/11 Detainees Postpone Guilty Pleas At Guantánamo

ACLU Says Flawed System Must Be Scrapped

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba - After
expressing their desire to plead guilty at a Guantánamo military
commission hearing earlier today, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and two other
detainees charged with crimes related to the 9/11 attacks said they
would postpone entering pleas until the competency of two additional
co-defendants is determined. Outstanding questions remain about whether
the death penalty can be imposed if the defendants plead guilty.

The following can be attributed to
Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties
Union who is at Guantánamo observing today's proceedings:

"This afternoon's hearing was just
another chapter in the Guantánamo military commissions debacle. Neither
the military judge nor the accused are clear about how these
proceedings will move forward. What is abundantly clear is that no
matter how hard the government tries to advance the military
commissions, this process doesn't work. Questions of the death penalty
and the competence of several of the defendants are still unresolved -
and not likely to be resolved. The only solution is to shut the
military commissions down and start from scratch."

The ACLU John Adams Project, a
partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers,
has sponsored expert civilian counsel who are assisting the
under-resourced military defense counsel for these detainees. More
information is available online at: www.aclu.org/johnadams

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