Despite concerns expressed by several lawmakers, the government has announced five men suspected of coordinating the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be sent to the U.S. for trial.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who allegedly confessed to masterminding the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people, and four other Guantanamo Bay prisoners will be tried by a civilian court in lower Manhattan, just blocks from the World Trade Center site.
While some family members welcomed the decision as a chance to have their day in court, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that "bringing these dangerous individuals onto U.S. soil needlessly compromises the safety of all Americans," quoted by CNN.
He added that "putting political ideology ahead of the safety of the American people just to fulfill an ill-conceived campaign promise is irresponsible."
The announcement was made by Attorney General Eric Holder who also stated that he expected the prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the defendants.
He said, moreover, that five other detainees held at Guantanamo Bay will be sent to military commissions for trial, also in the U.S.
Commentators suggest the decisions are a step towards fulfilling the pledge made by President Obama last January to close the controversial detention facility that has attracted criticism from around the world for its harsh interrogation techniques which some say included acts of torture.