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9/11 detainees accept responsibility for attacks

Tuesday, 10 March 2009 - 4:34pm IST | Place: NEW YORK | Agency: PTI

The document was filed on behalf of the five men, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has described himself as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

The five detainees at Guantanamo Bay charged with planning the 9/11 attacks have filed a document with the military commission at the US naval base accepting full responsibility for the killing of nearly 3,000 people, a media report said on Tuesday.

The document uses the Arabic term for a consultative assembly in describing the five men as the "9/11 Shura Council," and it says their actions were an offering to God, the New York Times reported, citing excerpts of the document that were read to a reporter by a government official.

The document is titled "The Islamic Response to the Government's Nine Accusations," the military judge at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp said in a separate filing, obtained by The New York Times, that describes the detainees' document.

The document was filed on behalf of the five men, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has described himself as the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, the paper said.

President Obama halted the military proceedings at Guantanamo in the first days after his inauguration, and the five men's case is on hiatus until the government decides how it will proceed, the Times added.

Several of the men, the paper reported, have earlier said in military commission proceedings at Guantanamo that they planned the 2001 attacks and that they sought martyrdom.

The strategic goal of the five men in making the new filing, which reached the military court on March 5, was not clear, the report said.

In their filing, the men describe the planning of the Sept 11 attacks and the killing of Americans as a model of Islamic action, and say the American government's accusations cause them no shame, the paper reported quoting the excerpts read by the government official.

"To us," the official continued reading, “they are not accusations. To us they are a badge of honor, which we carry with honour."

It appears that the men wrote the document at meetings they are permitted to conduct periodically at the detention camp without lawyers, the Times said.

In his brief court order describing the filing, the military judge who has been handling the case, Col Stephen R Henley of the Army, said the men sought no specific legal action.

Judge Henley ordered that the filing be released immediately, but officials said objections from lawyers for two of the men had held up release Monday.

All five of the men have said they want to represent themselves, but in the case of these two men, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and  Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, the military judge had not yet determined their competency when the proceedings were halted.

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