Changes sought to charges in Guantanamo 9/11 case

AP News
Posted: Aug 23, 2013 4:45 PM

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — A pretrial hearing in the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo has come to an end following a debate on a defense effort to dismiss some of the charges.

Defense lawyers argue that charges such as conspiracy and terrorism can't be made by a military commission, a special tribunal for war crimes. Attorney James Connell says such charges are suitable to civilian court because they are not considered violations of international laws of war.

The chief prosecutor disputed that argument Friday and said there is a historical and legal basis for using the military commission, which combines elements of civilian and military court.

The defendants face nearly 3,000 counts of murder each and could get the death penalty. Court resumes next month. The trial is likely at least a year away.