9/11 alleged plotters set for 2021 Guantanamo military trial

Five men face the death penalty if found guilty

In this photo of a sketch by court artist Janet Hamlin, and reviewed by the U.S. Military, from top left to bottom, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al Baluchi, and Mustafa al Hawsawi attend a hearing at the U.S. Military Commissions court for war crimes at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009. The new Obama administration circulated a draft executive order Wednesday that calls for closing the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year and halting any war crimes trials in the meantime. (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool)
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The trial for five men alleged to have plotted the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is scheduled to begin in January 2021.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said to be the mastermind behind the World Trade Centre attack and a senior Al Qaeda figure, is among those up for trial in what would be one of the most highly anticipated trials in recent US history.

A military judge said the trial is scheduled to take place at the US Naval Base  in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mr Mohammed was linked to numerous Al Qaeda plots in the run up to the deadly 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington DC, including the 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the US Navy warship the USS Cole.

He was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and was held by the CIA before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

On trial alongside Mr Mohammed will be Walid bin Attash, alleged to have run an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan where two of the hijackers were trained; Ramzi bin Al-Shibh, a Yemeni accused of planning the logistics for the 9/11 attacks.

Ammar Al-Baluchi, alleged to have played a critical role in funding the hijackers and organising their flight school training and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, a Saudi national accused of acquiring cash, credit cards and clothing for the hijackers, will also stand trial.

The journey to Friday's latest development has been a long and arduous one for witnesses, victims, survivors and families.

US judge Col W Shane Cohen admitted that holding the trial at the Guantanamo Bay base "will face a host of administrative and logistics challenges".

If convicted by a military commission that combines civilian and military law, the five men could face the death penalty.

Mr Cohen will begin hearings next month with witnesses, the New York Times said.