Biden rejects plea deal for 9/11 defendants – National & International News – THU 7Sep2023

Biden rejects plea deal for 9/11 defendants.

Atlanta: 61 ‘Cop City’ protesters charged with RICO crimes.


Biden rejects plea deal for 9/11 defendants 

With the 23rd anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks just days away, President Biden has rejected a potential plea deal for five men said to have plotted the attack. This includes Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who admitted under torture to being the “mastermind” behind the attack. Under the deal, all five men would plea guilty in exchange for life sentences instead of the death penalty. All five men have been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for nearly two decades without trial.

Attorneys for the men were also seeking other considerations, including that the men would not serve their sentences in solitary confinement, that they be allowed to eat and pray with other inmates, and that they receive medical attention for injuries they received as a result of CIA torture.

At the recommendation of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Biden rejected the deal. A statement from the White House said that the President does not believe the conditions “would be appropriate in these circumstances”.

Many 9/11 families welcomed the news. However, the rejection of the plea agreement means they will have to wait even longer for any justice in the case. Some victims’ families are still holding out hope that there will be a jury trial, and many are displeased that the death penalty has been taken off the table. But because all of these men were subjected to torture, it’s exceedingly unlikely they will ever have a day in court. A trial would mean that the details and exact nature of their torture would become a matter of public record. It also taints any confession of guilt the men may have offered.

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Atlanta: 61 ‘Cop City’ protesters charged with RICO crimes

This week, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced that his office was charging 61 opponents of the controversial “Cop City” project with Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) charges. This is the same state RICO statute under which former President Trump and 18 co-defendants were recently charged in the 2020 election interference case.

The AG’s office says all 61 defendants are members of a group called Defend the Atlanta Forest. This is one of a coalition of environmental and civil rights groups that are opposing the construction of a training ground for police and firefighters. The Cop City site is very close to a majority Black neighborhood, and some say that placing the site here is tantamount to racial intimidation. Conservation groups say that construction at the site has already damaged an ancient forest and polluted local streams.

The charges stem in part from a demonstration in March during which the state claims protesters stormed the empty construction site and destroyed equipment. Activists say the event was a “family-friendly music festival” held in a separate location. 

The defendants include a legal observer and managers of a bail fund. Some of the “overt acts” of which activists are accused in the indictment includes writing the slogan ACAB (All Cops are Bastards) and buying glue to make pamphlets.

The protest gained international attention in January when police fatally shot Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, an environmental protester who was camping in the forest. According to an autopsy, Terán sustained some of his wounds while sitting on the ground with hands raised.

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