FORT MEADE, Md. — A new round of pretrial hearings in the military commission case against five men accused of planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks opened Monday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, two months after a military judge ordered a delay in proceedings because of defense concerns about the security of their communications.
Attorneys for the five detainees, including self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, will argue a series of motions before Army Col. James Pohl in a slow-moving prelude to a death-penalty trial that could be a year or more away. The five men attended Monday's proceeding but were largely silent as lawyers argued various legal questions.
Among the issues Pohl must decide is whether the defendants can be excluded from the courtroom during discussions about classified material. All five men were held at secret sites by the CIA before they were transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September 2006.
The proceedings Monday were monitored through a closed-circuit television system to Maryland's Fort Meade.
Two of the defendants have filed a motion seeking to bar the authorities from force-feeding them. There were 104 detainees at Guantanamo Bay on hunger strike Monday, military officials said. The government said the motion is irrelevant because neither man is on hunger strike.