9/11 mastermind could avoid death penalty as new US plea deal looms

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured in Pakistan in 2003
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured in Pakistan in 2003

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's defence lawyers are launching the plea deal to examine the use of torture in obtaining testimony

Published

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed could escape the death penalty as part of a plea deal being negotiated with US prosecutors.

The alleged plotter of the September 11 terrorist attacks and his four accomplices have been held in Guantanamo Bay since 2006.

The 2001 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and was the worst terror attack in the US.

Prosecutors have reportedly opened talks with defence lawyers over guilty pleas from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his co-defendants.

Mohammed was held by the CIA after he was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and is said to have been waterboarded 183 times.

Prosecutors have called for a plea deal after a military jury has condemned the torture of another Guantanamo inmate as “a stain on the moral fibre of America”, according to the New York Times.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed said he was the chief mastermind of the September 11 attacks “from A to Z',
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed said he was the chief mastermind of the September 11 attacks “from A to Z',

Mohammed, 58, and four others were charged in 2008 with plotting or assisting the hijackers who flew four planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.

The five defendants spent time in secret CIA "black site" prisons where they were subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques" which included beatings and other forms of abuse.

The defence lawyers have argued that any admissions made by the defendants were the result of torture and cannot be included in an eventual trial.

The US Justice Department acknowledged on Thursday it would miss a deadline set by President Joe Biden's executive order to review and release documents from the FBI investigation of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In a filing, it told Judge Sarah Netburn in New York the FBI would have released most of the required documents by mid-March, but more releases would occur into mid-April.