Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek bin ‘Attash, a Yemeni, has been charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, attacking civilians and civilian objects, causing serious bodily injury, murder in violation of the laws of war, destruction of property in violation of the laws of war, hijacking, terrorism and providing material support for terrorism. The US government is prosecuting bin ‘Attash with four others, all of whom are alleged to have been involved in the planning and execution of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and is seeking the death penalty for all of them.

Bin ‘Attash is specifically accused of having been instructed by Osama bin Laden to obtain a US visa so he could travel to the US and receive pilot training in order to participate in the eventual hijacking. It is also alleged that he applied for a US visa in 1999 but was denied, after which the government claims he continued to do research for Al-Qaeda and facilitated travel for the 9/11 hijackers.

Although bin ‘Attash was reportedly arrested and transferred to US custody in April 2003, he was not transferred to Guantanamo until September 2006. In the interim he was held incommunicado in secret CIA detention facilities, where he was effectively "disappeared."

In November 2009 Attorney general Eric Holder announced that Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek bin 'Attash along with four co-defendents in the 9/11 prosecution, would be moved from Guantanamo to stand trial in federal district court in New York City. However, after New York officials raised objections based on purported security and cost concerns, the Obama administration suspended its decision to move the case to federal court. Finally, on April 4, 2011, Holder reversed course and announced that the co-defendants would be tried before a military commission in Guantanamo. 

In May 2012, bin ‘Attash and the other four co-defendants were arraigned in a military commission at Guantanamo. The case has been in pre-trial hearings ever since and a trial date is likely years away. The delay is the result of the military commisssions system’s use of new rules that have not been tested, the US government’s decision to classify important evidence related to the defendants’ torture in CIA custody, and the commissions' remote location at Guantanamo, among other things. (Last updated August 9, 2018)

 

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