Nevin said he believed Mohammed was not responding because he believes the tribunal is unfair. Jim Harrington, representing Binalshibh, said his client would not respond to questions "without addressing the issues of confinement."
Cheryl Bormann, a civilian attorney for bin Attash, appeared in a conservative Islamic outfit that left only her face uncovered and she asked the court to order other women present to wear "appropriate" clothing so that defendants do not have to avert their eyes "for fear of committing a sin under their faith."
Pohl warned he would not permit defendants to block the hearing and would continue without his participation.
"One cannot choose not to participate and frustrate the normal course of business," Pohl said.
Pohl brought translators into the courtroom to interpret the proceedings live once the men refused to use earpieces attempted to stick to the standard script for tribunals, asking the defendants if they understood their rights to counsel and would accept the attorneys appointed for them.
The men were silent.
In the past, during the failed first effort to prosecute them at the U.S. base in Cuba, Mohammed has mocked the tribunal and said he and his co-defendants would plead guilty and welcome execution. But there were signs that at least some of the defense teams were preparing for a lengthy fight, planning challenges of the military tribunals and the secrecy that shrouds the case.
Defendants typically do not enter a plea during their arraignment but are offered the chance to do so.
Army Capt. Jason Wright, one of Mohammed's Pentagon-appointed lawyers, declined to comment on the case.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced in 2009 that Mohammed and his co-defendants would be tried blocks from the site of the destroyed trade center in downtown Manhattan, but the plan was shelved after New York officials cited huge costs to secure the neighborhood and family opposition to trying the suspects in the U.S.
Congress then blocked the transfer of any prisoners from Guantanamo to the U.S., forcing the Obama administration to refile the charges under a reformed military commission system.
Mohammed, a Pakistani citizen who grew up in Kuwait and attended college in Greensboro, North Carolina, has admitted to military authorities that he was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks "from A to Z," as well as about 30 other plots, and that he personally killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Mohammed was captured in 2003 in Pakistan.
Binalshibh was allegedly chosen to be a hijacker but couldn't get a U.S. visa and ended up providing assistance such as finding flight schools. Bin Attash, also from Yemen, allegedly ran an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and researched flight simulators and timetables. Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi is a Saudi accused of helping the hijackers with money, Western clothing, traveler's checks and credit cards. Al-Aziz Ali, a Pakistani national and nephew of Mohammed, allegedly provided money to the hijackers.
Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik in New York contributed to this report.
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