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Long fight predicted in Guantanamo Sept. 11 case


Four of the 9/11 plot suspects are shown at an arraignment inside the war crimes courthouse at Camp Justice, the legal complex of the U.S. Military Commissions, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, June 5, 2008. From top to bottom: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali. (Credit: AP)

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) - Saturday's arraignment of the self-described 9/11 mastermind and four co-defendants may be just the start of a long, drawn-out process that both sides say could continue for years.

A defense lawyer says the tentative trial date of May of next year is just a "placeholder" until a true date can be set for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others.

The chief prosecutor says he's expecting "hundreds of motions" from defense lawyers before the case goes to trial.

Yesterday's arraignment at the U.S. naval base in Cuba dragged on for 13 hours because of stalling tactics by the defendants. They refused to respond to the judge or use the court's translation system. One of them demanded a lengthy reading of the charges.

A defense lawyer called it "peaceful resistance to an unjust system."

But family members of 9/11 victims are outraged. A woman whose brother was the pilot of the plane that flew into the Pentagon says the suspects are "engaging in jihad in a courtroom." Debra Burlingame watched the proceeding from New York, on one of the closed-circuit feeds made available to victims' families.

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