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Biden admin could spare 9/11 terrorists from death penalty, report says

The 'Tribute in Light' rises skyward on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, September 11, 2019, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)
August 18, 2023

In a development that could reshape the pursuit of justice for the heinous 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon and FBI recently informed families of the tragedy’s victims that the alleged mastermind behind the attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and four other co-conspirators might avoid the death penalty.

The move comes as the Biden administration contemplates plea agreements, according to a letter first obtained by the Associated Press.

The letter, distributed to the 9/11 families on August 1, states, “The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has been negotiating and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements.” While it notes that no such agreement is yet in place, the correspondence does mention the possibility that “a [pre-trial agreement] in this case would remove the possibility of the death penalty.”

The protracted legal battle concerning Mohammed and the four others, all currently detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been fraught with complications. Notably, the “enhanced interrogation techniques” employed following their capture by the CIA have spurred significant controversy, according to The New York Post.

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Many bereaved family members have aired their dismay at the prospect of these plea agreements.

Jim Riches, who lost his firefighter son in the 2001 tragedy, noted, “No matter how many letters they send, until I see it, I won’t believe it.”

Emphasizing the need for justice, Riches added, “Those guys are still alive. Our children are dead.”

Peter Brady, who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks, remarked that the case “needs to go through the legal process.” Brady lamented the perceived bypassing of accountability, stating, “It’s about holding people responsible, and they’re taking that away with this plea.”

While the Trump administration had previously ruled against any plea deals with the 9/11 terrorist suspects, the current situation remains fluid, with no trial date slated for the accused conspirators.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.