(CN) – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center will be tried in military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.
A federal judge in Manhattan granted prosecutors’ motion to dismiss the indictment on Monday after the attorney general determined that the five men are eligible for military commission charges.
The indictments against Mohammed and his co-conspirators, Walid Bin Attash, Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Al-Hawsawi, are now being referred to the Defense Department.
The 9/11 Commission Report described Mohamed as “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.” He and his co-defendants were indicted on 10 counts of terrorism-related charges that resulted in 2,976 deaths.
Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that he wished to prosecute the alleged terrorists in federal court, but was stonewalled by members of Congress who “have taken one of the nation’s most tested counterterrorism tools off the table” by blocking the administration from bringing Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States.
“But we must face a simple truth: those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future,” Holder said in a statement. “And we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited for nearly a decade for justice.”
Holder responded to critics of the Justice Department and emphasized that federal courts are the proper venue for prosecuting terrorists.
“Our courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists since September 11, and our prisons safely and securely hold hundreds today, many of them serving long sentences,” he said. “There is no other tool that has demonstrated the ability to both incapacitate terrorists and collect intelligence from them over such a diverse range of circumstances as our traditional justice system.”