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Mustafa Ahmed Adam al-Hawsawi, originally from Saudi Arabia, has been charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, attacking civilians and civilian objects, 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 government has elected to try al-Hawsawi with four other detainees, all of whom are alleged to have been involved in the planning and execution of the September 11 terrorist attacks; the Defense Department is seeking the death penalty for all of them. The government claims that al-Hawsawi helped research flight schools for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and administered bank accounts for several of the hijackers.

Although al-Hawsawi was reportedly arrested and transferred to US custody in March 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 Mustafa Ahmed Adam al-Hawsawi 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, Hawsawi 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 commissions 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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