Alleged 9-11 conspirators withdraw offer of guilty pleas

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shortly after his capture in 2002.

All five of the alleged 9-11 conspirators, including the self-professed ringleader and mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, have withdrawn their offer of guilty pleas after questions were raised on whether by pleading guilty they can receive the death penalty.

During a pretrial hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Mohammed was heard asking: "Are you saying if we plead guilty we will not be able to be sentenced to death?" Mohammed has stated his desire to die as a martyr, but Army Colonel Stephen R. Henley, the military judge at the head of the trial, stated that a death sentence may not be possible without a verdict. Attorneys for the conspirators say that the possibility of no execution led to the withdrawal of the offer.

Alice Hoagland attended the proceedings, and expressed her opposition to any of the conspirators being executed, saying of Mohammed that "I can't think of anybody who less deserves martyrdom". Hoagland's son, Mark, was one of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who are believed to have fought the hijackers of that flight.