Relatives of 9/11 victims bear witness at Guantanamo

PTI | | Updated on: Jan 31, 2013

They lost their children or their spouses on September 11, 2001, and now they have come to Guantanamo to “bear witness” as alleged plotters get closer to facing justice.

But the victims’ relatives — 10 chosen in a drawing to attend preliminary hearings this week — lament what they call the lack of interest back in the US in the proceedings against the five men accused of plotting the suicide airliner attacks.

It’s been 11 years since the deadliest attack ever on US soil, in which nearly 3,000 people died, but for these relatives, the wounds are still raw.

“We miss him every second of every day,” said Joyce Woods, of her 26-year-old son who was killed in the World Trade Center.

“We are here to bear witness and, hopefully, to see justice,” she added.

But her husband said it was hard to see the disinterest in the trial back home. “Americans don’t realise what’s happening here,” he said.

Another father who lost his son during the attacks, Matthew Sellitto, expressed shock at what he saw as a lack of domestic press coverage of the proceedings.

Sellitto said he couldn’t understand “why the rest of the world is more interested” than their fellow Americans are.

“Something like this should be on CNN,” he said. “Americans aren’t even aware that it’s even going on.”

As he walked out of the courtroom, he said he regretted that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks that took away his 23-year-old son, was not present at the hearing.

“I think they should be here every day,” he said of the five men who will eventually go on trial.

His wife, Loreen, said she thought many Americans saw the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden as “a kind of closure,” and people don’t realise there are still five plotters facing trial.

Published on January 31, 2013
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