By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
April 17, 2008 - Prosocutors in the case against the self-described mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks and five of his co-conspirators have amended the charge sheet against the detainees to further clarify their activities, a senior Pentagon official announced today. The reswearing of charges involves the case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, more commonly known by his initials, KSM, and five others in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, Bryan Whitman, deputy assistant secretary of defense, told reporters.
The other defendants in the "9-11 case" are Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi and Mohammed al Kahtani. All are detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.
The six were charged Feb. 11 with conspiracy, terrorism, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians and civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, terrorism, and providing material support for terrorism.
Mohammed, bin Attash, Binalshibh, and Aziz Ali also are charged with the substantive offense of hijacking or hazarding a vessel.
The charge sheet also named 2,973 people killed during the Sept. 11 attacks
In announcing the original charges, defense officials also announced their intent to seek the death penalty for all six defendants.
Army Col. Larry Morris, chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions, decided to reswear the charges to add clarity, specify where the crime occurred, and describe how they were committed, Whitman said today.
Reswearing charges generally occurs in light of new evidence or legal analysis developments as part of pretrial work before a case goes to court, Whitman said. It's not an unusual practice, he said, and tracks with an established practice of filing superseding indictments within the federal court system, he said.
The next step in the 9-11 case is for Susan J. Crawford, the Office of Military Commissions' convening authority, to refer the charges, Whitman said. He compared this procedure to an indictment rendered in a civilian court, with the convening authority reviewing the charges and supporting evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to refer the case for trial. Crawford also also must determine whether the case should be capital.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, legal advisor to the convening authority, has completed his pretrial advice and provided it to Crawford as part of that process, Whitman said.