Parents of firefighters killed on 9/11 have asked President Barack Obama to let the Guantanamo Bay detainees have their day in court.
In a letter sent yesterday to the president — days after he ordered the prison shut down within a year trials halted for 120 days — the families asked for a meeting with Obama and “a firm commitment that the delays and confusion” will end.
“It’s been screwed up for eight years now,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches, whose son, Jimmy, was killed in the World Trade Center, at a news conference at the office of their lawyer, Norman Siegel. “We want these people to stand trial and if they’re guilty we want them to suffer the same fate my son did.”
Riches just returned from Guantanamo Bay, where he watched the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants accused of helping plot the attacks.
He said all admitted guilt during their trial and military prosecutors told him they had “mountains of evidence” against the men. The case is now suspended.Siegel, the former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union and a candidate for public advocate, acknowledged the complexity of determining what to do with the 245 detainees.
A special military commission is hearing the Mohammed case, but aspects of that system have been challenged by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Family members yesterday did not express a preference for any specific type of hearing but said they want fair and open trials – now.
“None of us will ever be healed from this,” said Maureen Santora, who lost her son Christopher. “None of us will ever have closure. But we need a resolution.”