Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

New York voices on 9/11 trial

Site of the World Trade Center

The alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be transferred from Guantanamo Bay to New York for a trial in which the death penalty will be sought, the US has confirmed.

Hundreds of people, from New York and beyond, have been in touch with the BBC about the decision to hold the trial in a federal court in the city where the Twin Towers once stood.


Claude Kalid
Claude works for New York city transit

I think it's entirely appropriate that these individuals should be tried in New York.

I think you should have to stand before the people you've wronged.

It's a special irony, he will most likely be tried in a courthouse very close to the void in the skyline left by the World Trade Center.

I saw the second plane hit the tower. On the day, I was about half a mile away watching TV. By the time we got onto the roof we saw the second plane coming around the Statue of Liberty.

It was the worst thing I've ever seen. So, I would definitely be excluded from jury service.

It might be difficult to find 12 impartial people in this city and I am concerned about the spectacle the trial could become. But I think he has a better chance of a fair trial under the US justice system than he would anywhere else.

Many New Yorkers would of course like to extend [the suspects] hospitality commensurate with their crimes.

I'd like just five minutes alone with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I would point out to him how futile his [alleged] actions ultimately were. Terrorism never achieves its objective. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have died after 9/11 in the ensuing conflicts.


New York's reaction to trial decision

I live in Manhattan, about one mile from Ground Zero. I believe the place to try the suspects of 9/11 is here. Let them us see them as they face us. How can we fear his attempts to glorify his deeds?

I am sensitive to those who lost loved ones but how can we move forward if we are not willing to face our enemies? Understanding their motives will not allow us to forgive them, but it may give us the insight we need to stop vicious cycle of violence we are stuck in now.
Mitchel, New York, New York

e-mail sent in by reader

We all know that New York City has and will always be a target for terrorist attacks, whether the trial takes place here or not.

It will show that we will not surrender to the darkness. We will not let the evil and hate that they shamelessly try to cloak in Islam to succeed.
Damion, NYC

e-mail sent in by reader

I believe New York is the appropriate place to hold the trials. This is where the act of violence took place and this is where it should end. However, I do question if these people are truly the masterminds behind 9/11. If you think about it, if I went through "harsh interrogation techniques including water-boarding on multiple occasions since I've been captured," I would have admitted to whatever the military wanted. I would rather know 100% these are the people that plan 9/11, instead of falsely accusing maybe innocent people.
Timon, Staten Island

Sally Eberhardt

Of course we want Guantanamo closed, but not if the detainees face the same sort of conditions once they arrive in the US.

I work with a group called "Theatres against War".

We're campaigning about Syed Fahad Hashmi, a Muslim American who has been languishing in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan for the last two and a half years.

He has been subjected to inhumane conditions of detention and has had his basic due legal process - including the most basic right to see the evidence against him - decimated.

I'm concerned that we are getting into empty gestures.

All of the suspects are kept under "Special Administrative Measures", introduced under Clinton and strengthened by the Bush administration. They were renewed by our attorney general about a week ago. I think they encroach on basic human rights.

These measures contain a bizarre level of detail, and I can't always see how it protects national security.

For example, Fahad's brother's wife had a baby. Fahad wasn't allowed to receive the photo because his sister-in-law was in the picture and she isn't a family member.

With the Bush administration you expect this, but with Obama we hoped for something different. I sometimes think: how can this all be happening with a new US administration in power?


e-mail sent in by reader

I prefer that he be tried at Guantanamo as we are inviting more trouble in New York or wherever he is tried.

The cost of trying him and his co-conspirators means extra security will be paid for by the local community which is already strapped in these difficult times! Why invite more terrorism or the possibility of someone trying to do something to this man when in Guantanamo he is much safer for his trial.

By bringing him here you are also just dredging up the emotions of the people who are hurting so bad already, enough is enough!
Anonymous, New York City

e-mail sent in by reader

Growing up in Queens, the 9/11 attacks hit home to me and my fellow New Yorkers more than anyone else on the planet.

Though the victims of these terrorists attacks were civilians, bringing these [men] to New York to stand trial is a slap in the face of the American people and any victim of the atrocity.

Because bringing these alleged terrorists back to New York - three blocks from Ground Zero - will only make every American relive the atrocities again.
Mr Getz, Queens, NY

e-mail sent in by reader

I'm concerned about the possibility of creating the perception that they're not getting a fair trial. A change of venue would seem to be in order so there will be no valid reason to portray any doubt of their guilt.
Steve, New York, NY

Site of the World Trade Center


e-mail sent in by reader

Regardless how he will be received in NYC, he deserves the right to a fair trial, to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, and to be treated how every other criminal in the US is treated. This is regardless of the crime because the US has a set of standards that makes this country so great.

If we choose to only use our high standards in certain cases then we should question our whole system of ideals. I'm not trying to defend Mr Mohammed but he, just as every other person in the US justice system, should be treated the same, regardless of how serious the crime is.
Evan, Fairfield, Connecticut

e-mail sent in by reader

I do think New York is the right place for the trial of these men considering the number of people who lost their life in this attack. Some the victims' families will have first hand opportunity to witness the trial.
Enow-Ayuk Edwin, Nigeria

e-mail sent in by reader

This is the correct decision. To do otherwise would be an admission that the US legal system is incapable of fairly bringing to trial a mass murderer in the guise of a terrorist.

Military trials, by their nature, are most often seen as being biased. The last thing that America needs is to have Mohammed tried behind closed doors and where the defence material is largely restricted by the evidence it can use.

Of course this entire tribunal/civilian court debate would be unnecessary if former President Bush had simply abided by the Geneva Convention in the first place.
HJP in Dallas, Texas

e-mail sent in by reader

The idea of these men being acquitted is now a possibility. All evidence will be tainted by the idea that it may have been obtained outside Miranda rights or by "illegal" interrogation.

A travesty is about to occur. A travesty unlike any seen in recent history; these guys returning to their homelands and to the adulation of the masses there
Mark, Fox River Grove, Illinois US

e-mail sent in by reader

At first I thought they should be tried in a military court, but since the offence happened in New York, I'm thinking that's a fitting place for them to be tried and judged.
Susan Diesen, Sierra Vista, Arizona

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