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Lawyers say 9/11 defendants defying ‘unjust system’

Lawyers for five men charged before a military commission with conspiring in the attacks of September 11 complained on Sunday that the process was rigged to lead to the execution of their clients

Written by New York Times | Guantanamo | Published: May 8, 2012 1:06 am

CHARLIE SAVAGE

Lawyers for five men charged before a military commission with conspiring in the attacks of September 11 complained on Sunday that the process was rigged to lead to the execution of their clients.

Throughout Saturday’s arraignment,Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the other four defendants refused to talk to,or even listen to,the judge. Several delayed the hearing by praying,and one shouted that guards at the prison might kill them.

One of the lawyers,James G Connell III,who represents Ali Abd al Aziz Ali,said at a news conference on Sunday that the defendants’ refusal to acknowledge the judge was a “peaceful resistance to an unjust system.” While Connell was prohibited from relaying anything his client had told him,he said,the defendants’ actions “appeared to be a coordinated strategy.”

Several of the lawyers amplified their complaints about restrictions on what they could discuss. A crucial part of the case will be the defence’s effort to present evidence,as mitigation against death sentences,of torture while the defendants were in the custody of the CIA.

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