9/11 Suspects Disrupt Gitmo Hearing
Accused mastermind, 4 others were to be arraigned
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2012 8:49 AM CDT
Updated May 5, 2012 12:08 PM CDT
At left, a 2003 photo shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after his capture in Pakistan. At right, a photo downloaded from an Arabic language Internet site of of Mohammed.   (AP Photo/www.muslm.net)

(Newser) – The self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks repeatedly declined to answer a judge's questions today and his co-defendants knelt in prayer in what appeared to be a concerted protest against the military proceedings. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men appeared for the first time in more than three years for arraignment at a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. They're charged with 2,976 counts of murder for the 2001 attacks. The hearing quickly bogged down before they could be arraigned.

Mohammed and his co-defendants took off the earphones that provide Arabic translations and refused to answer any questions from the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, dramatically slowing a hearing that is heavy on military legal procedure. At one point, two of the men got up and prayed alongside their defense tables under the watchful eyes of troops arrayed along the sides of the courtroom. Prisoner Walid bin Attash was put in a restraint chair for unspecified reasons and then removed from it after he agreed to behave; and lawyers for all defendants complained that the prisoners were prevented from wearing the civilian clothes of their choice. Family members of some of the victims were watching the proceedings via closed-circuit TV.