May 13, 2008
Mohammed al-Qahtani remains in custody
A Guantanamo Bay military judge has refused to approve prosecutors' charges against a prisoner accused of planning to be the "20th hijacker" on Sept. 11, 2001. Mohammed al-Qahtani will remain in custody as an enemy combatant, and the military can refile charges.
The United States had been seeking the death penalty against al-Qahtani and five other men in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Charges against the other five were approved by Susan Crawford, the convening authority for military commissions.
The others are alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, accused of being an intermediary between the hijackers and al Qaeda leaders and finding flight schools for the hijackers; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, alleged to have sent $120,000 to hijackers and arranging travel for nine of them; Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, accused of providing the hijackers with money, clothes and credit cards; and Walid bin Attash, who is accused of training two of the 9/11 hijackers and assisting in the hijacking plan.
All six suspects are accused of helping plan the attacks in which hijackers flew two passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York and another into the Pentagon in Washington. Another hijacked plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. According to the 9/11 commission report, 2,974 people were killed in the attacks, not including the 19 hijackers.