Holder: 9/11 Suspects to Face Military Tribunals

By Pete Yost | April 4, 2011 | 5:09 PM EDT

At left a March 1, 2003 photo obtained by the Associated Press shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan. At right, a photo downloaded from the Arabic language Internet site www.muslm.net and purporting to show a man identified by the Internet site as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sep. 11 attacks, is seen in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP Photo/www.muslm.net)

Washington (AP) - Yielding to political opposition, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged henchmen will be referred to the system of military commissions for trial rather than to a civilian federal court in New York.

The families of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks have waited almost a decade for justice, and "it must not be delayed any longer," Holder told a news conference.

Holder announced the earlier plan for trial in New York City in November 2009.

The switch stems from widespread opposition among Republicans, and even some Democrats particularly in New York, to a civilian court trial. Congress passed legislation that prohibits bringing any detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.