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Five men charged in 9/11 attacks could face death penalty

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This photo obtained in 2003 shows alleged plotter of the September 11, 2001 attack Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The United States issued charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, along with four other alleged plotters, setting the stage for a much-awaited military trial.

WASHINGTON -- Charges against five alleged co-conspirators in the 9/11 attacks were referred to trial by the Pentagon on Wednesday, and the men could face the death penalty.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi are (once again) charged with planning and executing the attacks on Sept 11, 2001, leading to the deaths of 2,976 people.

The convening authority of the Office of Military Commissions referred the case to a capital military commission, so these men are eligible for the death penalty.

The five men have been charged before, but charges were dropped against them in 2009 when President Barack Obama ordered a review of the Military Commissions process, hoping to move the process to a civilian court.

In May 2011, military prosecutors filed charges against all five again. Wednesday's announcement means that the convening authority has agreed they should stand trial.

The next step is for the chief judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary to assign a military judge to the case and for a date to be set for their arraignment. According to the rules, they are supposed to be arraigned within 30 days of being served the charges. 

They will be tried at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Jim Miklaszewski is the chief Pentagon correspondent for NBC News and Courtney Kube is the Pentagon producer. 

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