The fate of the Guantanamo Bay prison remained unclear on the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, but all the same, pretrial hearings began Monday for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other prisoners implicated in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

AFP via Google News:

Self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appeared in the court amid tight security alongside Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, Wallid bin Attash, Mustapha al-Hawsawi, and Ramzi bin al-Shaiba.

Judge Stephen Henley questioned the five men who appeared without the help of civilian or military lawyers.

In December, the Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants said they would submit guilty pleas to terror charges pending mental competency evaluations.

Judge Stephen Henley also announced then that the defendants wanted to dismiss their tribunal-appointed attorneys.

Should the guilty pleas go forward, the men could be sentenced to death.

Evidentiary motions are also planned for Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen arrested in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old for allegedly killing a US soldier with a hand grenade. His trial has been set to begin on January 26.

But experts predict the trial may never take place.

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