In a potential reversal, advisors to President Obama are close to recommending that self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other co-conspirators be prosecuted in a military tribunal rather than in a civilian court in New York City, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to transfer Mohammed and other terrorist suspects from Guantanamo Bay to New York City has come under heavy scrutiny from Republicans, who have stated that military tribunals are a more appropriate venue for those accused of attacking America.
Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have each proposed legislation that would prohibit any terror suspect from being tried in federal courts or in reformed military commissions located in the United States, according to Fox News.
In addition to GOP opposition, local city officials have resisted Holder’s decision because of costs, security and logistical concerns, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
Meanwhile, many liberal groups have lashed out at the president for even considering a change of venue for the 9/11 trials.
"If this stunning reversal comes to pass, President Obama will deal a death blow to his own Justice Department, not to mention American values," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), quoted by the news source.
"Even with recent improvements, the military commissions system is incapable of handling complicated terrorism cases and achieving reliable results," he added. "President Obama must not cave in to political pressure and fear-mongering."