Some families of 9/11 victims have been informed by the Pentagon and FBI that the Biden administration is considering plea arrangements that could spare the death penalty for suspected terrorist mastermind Kalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants.
As the government considers how to end the more than ten-year prosecution of the suspected terrorists, it delivered a letter to 9/11 families, which the Associated Press was able to get.
Families are informed in the letter that “The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has been negotiating and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements” and that although no plea agreement “has been finalized and may never be finalized,” it “is possible that a [pre-trial agreement] in this case would remove the possibility of the death penalty.
According to the Associated Press, the letter, dated August 1, asks recipients to respond to the FBI’s victim services division by Monday with any comments or inquiries regarding the potential agreements. The letter states that military prosecutors promise to take the 9/11 families’ opinions into account before accepting any plea deals.
Mohammed’s case, along with that of the other four men now detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, has been plagued by delays and legal wrangling, notably in relation to the “enhanced interrogation techniques” employed by CIA agents after the detainees were captured.
Outrage over the prospect of plea agreements was raised by some family members of the 2,977 victims of the 9/11 attacks. “How can you possibly believe it? is the government’s update, according to Jim Riches, a retired deputy fire chief in New York City who lost his son Jimmy, also a firefighter, on September 11, 2001.
Riches expressed doubt about the possibility of receiving justice for his son’s killing and bemoaned the fact that “those guys are still alive” but added, “No matter how many letters they send, until I see it, I won’t believe it. After the attacks nearly 22 years ago, “Our children are dead.” The letter was received this week by Peter Brady, whose father was killed in the incident, who stated that the case “needs to go through the legal process.”
According to Brady, it’s about “holding people accountable, and they’re taking that away with this plea.” There is no scheduled trial date for the five alleged 9/11 conspirators.
The suspected terrorists, who have been detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility since 2006, have previously been denied any plea agreements by the Trump administration.