The five men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks in 2001 have deferred entering pleas at their first appearance before a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay. If convicted they face a possible death penalty.
All of them, including the self-confessed mastermind of the attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, refused to answer the judge’s questions as the case descended into chaos.
One defendants insisted the charge sheet be read out in full, meaning all 2,976 victims’ names had to be read out.
Relatives of the dead watched the proceedings on closed circuit TV at a US army base at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York.
“I’ve only seen the body language and that in itself indicates they have nothing but contempt for our values and our way of life,” said Maureen Basnicki whose husband died in the attacks.
All of the victims were killed when hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
The defendants are accused of conspiring with Osama bin Laden, murder in violation of the laws of war, hijacking and terrorism.