Mukasey: Executing 9/11 Suspects Will Make Them Martyrs

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey told an audience in London Friday that he hopes those accused in the 9/11 attacks do not receive the death penalty if found guilty because it would make them martyrs. Mukasey made the comment in response to a question after a speech at the London School of Economics on Anglo-American law enforcement. Mukasey did say the punishment would be fitting if they are convicted of the crime, but he believes it would allow the accused to portray themselves as victims. He emphasized that he was merely expressing a personal opinion, not stating U.S. government policy.

The U.S. is planning military commission trials of the six men currently accused in the attacks at Guantanamo Bay. Those six include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, and Mohammed al-Qahtani. Mukasey defended the military commission process in his remarks Friday, saying:

The military commissions established by our Congress are closely modeled on tribunals that the United States uses in courts-martial to try U.S. citizens in uniform. They include all the protections that we regard as fundamental, they exceed those used at Nuremberg, and they compare favorably with international war crimes tribunals.
Under the Military Commissions Act, for example, the accused enjoys the right to counsel; the presumption of innocence unless guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt; and the right to a trial before impartial military judges -- the same military judges who preside at courts-martial -- and an impartial jury. The accused enjoys the right to see all of the evidence presented against him -- including any classified evidence presented to the members of the military commission. And the act ensures that the military judge deems statements admitted to be reliable and in the interest of justice.

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