The Pentagon and FBI have informed the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks that terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed along with four other defendants, could be spared the death penalty.
This comes under plea agreements being considered by the Biden administration.
“The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has been negotiating and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements,” the letter informs families.
The letter adds that while no plea agreement for the 9/11 terrorists “has been finalized, and may never be finalized, it is possible that a [pre-trial agreement] in this case would remove the possibility of the death penalty.”
According to AP, in the letter dated Aug. 1, military prosecutors pledge to consider the views of the 9/11 families before they accept any plea deals.
It also asks recipients to respond to the FBI’s victim services with comments or questions about the potential agreements.
The case involving Mohammed and the four others has been plagued with legal disputes and delays, noted by the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by CIA operatives after the terrorists were apprehended.
Relatives of the 2,977 people killed in the 9/11 attack were outraged over the possibility of plea deals being made.
“How can you have any faith in it?” Jim Riches, a retired deputy fire chief in New York City who lost his son Jimmy told the Associated Press about the government’s update.
“No matter how many letters they send, until I see it, I won’t believe it,” Riches said about the prospect of justice for his son’s death, adding that “those guys are still alive. Our children are dead” nearly 22 years after the attacks.
Peter Brady, whose father was killed in the attack, said the case “needs to go through the legal process.”
It’s about “holding people responsible, and they’re taking that away with this plea,” Brady told the Associated Press.
No trial date has yet been set for the five suspected 9/11 conspirators.
The Trump administration previously ruled out any plea bargains for the suspected terrorists.
However, that changed when Biden took the White House in 2021.