9/11 mastermind loses appeal to delay Monday hearing

The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks has lost an appeal to delay his court appearance on Monday because of rats and mold, a defense lawyer told AFP.

Judge James Pohl's decision was still sealed Thursday, three days before the hearing in question, but lawyer James Connell said he had received word mid-afternoon local time.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's "emergency motion to delay October hearings -- due to defense offices deemed unsafe due to the presence of hazardous mold, rodents and rodent feces -- was denied," announced Connell, defense lawyer for one of the five men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks, the worst attacks on US soil.

The new series of preliminary hearings in the trial of the five is scheduled to begin Monday on the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The hearings had already been postponed so that the defendants could observe the holy month of Ramadan and then pushed back a day when a derailed freight train in the US state of Maryland caused an Internet outage at the base. They were then delayed again due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

Mohammed is on trial along with his Pakistani nephew Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi; Mustapha al-Hawsawi of Saudi Arabia and Yemenis Ramzi Binalshibh and Walid bin Attash.

The five face the death penalty if convicted for their roles in the 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda militants in which hijacked planes were used to strike New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,976 people.

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