The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and four suspected co-plotters will be tried in a civilian court blocks from where Al-Qaeda hijackers crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center, the US government announced.
Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday that prosecutors would seek the death penalty against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects who are held at Guantanamo Bay but will be moved to a New York prison ahead of their trial.
"After eight years of delay, those allegedly responsible for the attacks of September 11 will finally face justice," Holder said, without giving a date.
"They will be brought to New York to answer to their alleged crimes in a courthouse just blocks away from where the Twin Towers once stood."
Five more Guantanamo detainees, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of plotting the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer off Yemen that killed 17 US sailors, will be tried before military commissions.
The military tribunals were heavily criticised after being set up by former president George W Bush in late 2001, but have since been reformed to grant defendants more rights to evidence and bar evidence obtained through torture.