A military judge agreed Monday to another delay in the war crimes trial of five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Army Col. Stephen Henley agreed to the U.S. government's request for a 60-day continuance, a delay intended to give President Barack Obama's administration enough time to decide whether it should move the case to a civilian court or a revamped war crimes tribunal.
Henley had scheduled a hearing at the U.S. base in Cuba to allow Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and two other defendants — all three of whom are serving as their own lawyers — to voice any objections to the Obama's administration's third continuance in their case.
But Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the attacks, and the other defendants sent a note to the judge saying they did not oppose the delay, and Henley granted a written order without a hearing.
Mohammed was still expected to address the court later on a series of legal motions from the three defendants, including a request to dismiss lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union assigned to help with their case.
The two other Sept. 11 defendants have not yet been ruled mentally competent to act as their own lawyers and were expected to be excluded from the hearing.
The chief prosecutor, Navy Capt. John F. Murphy, said a decision on where to try Mohammed and four others charged in the Sept. 11 attacks will be made by Nov. 16. Even if the case remains in the hands of the military it would have to be moved from Guantanamo if Obama keeps his pledge to close the detention center at the U.S. base in Cuba in January.
The U.S. holds about 225 prisoners at Guantanamo. Murphy said about 65 are "viable" cases for prosecution.
Military prosecutors are ready to try the cases, but four U.S. attorneys’ offices in New York and the Washington DC area are reviewing the files for possible federal civilian trials, he said.
Mohammed, captured by U.S. authorities in Pakistan in 2003, has said he wants to be executed by the United States to achieve martyrdom.
Declassified 2004 CIA documents, released Aug. 24 by the Obama administration, detailed some of the treatment that Mohammed and other terrorism suspects underwent as part of a harsh regime of interrogation.
Among other things, interrogators him that "if anything else happens in the United States, 'We're going to kill your children,"' and continuously poured large volumes of water on a cloth covering his mouth — the practice known as waterboarding. Previous documents revealed that he was waterboarded 183 times.
Fox News' Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.