9/11 defendants ignore judge at Guantanamo hearing

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) - The self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and four co-defendants have been defiantly disrupting an arraignment that has dragged into the evening in the opening act of the long-stalled effort to prosecute them in a military court.

They have knelt in prayer, ignored the judge and wouldn't listen to Arabic translations as they confronted nearly 3,000 counts of murder.

More than seven hours into the hearing, the judge at the Guantanamo military base in Cuba hadn't yet read the charges against the men.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted 9/11 architect, and the four men accused of aiding the 9/11 conspiracy put off their pleas until a later date.

The detainees' lawyers spent hours questioning the judge about his qualifications to hear the case and suggested their clients were being mistreated at the hearing.

It was the defendants' first appearance in more than three years.

The defendants' behavior outraged 9/11 family members watching on closed-circuit video feeds. In Brooklyn, Debra Burlingame, whose brother, Charles, was the pilot of the plane that flew into the Pentagon, says, "They're engaging in jihad in a courtroom."


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