Via Video Feed, Families Watch 9/11 Case and Seethe

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Published: May 5, 2012

Some 1,400 miles from the arraignment proceedings of the military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay and just a few miles from ground zero, relatives of Sept. 11 victims as well as police officers and firefighters who survived the attack on the World Trade Center gathered in Brooklyn to watch the hearing.

The arraignments of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants were shown, via a live video feed, in two rooms, one for the relatives and one for the emergency workers, at Fort Hamilton.

As the defendants repeatedly and persistently disrupted the courtroom, some of the relatives said they had to keep their emotions in check.

Debra Burlingame, 58, a sister of Charles Burlingame, the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, said that she and other relatives were disgusted by the seeming arrogance shown by Mr. Mohammed and his fellow defendants.

“They are engaging in jihad in the courtroom,” said Ms. Burlingame, who wore a button with a picture of her brother sitting in his cockpit.

Robert Reeg, 59, who on Sept. 11 raced from the Upper East Side to the World Trade Center with Engine Company 44, said of the proceedings, “This is a theater for the defendants.”

Marc Nell, a New York police detective who lost 14 members of the unit he was in on Sept. 11, said the defendants’ actions did not faze him.

“It was good seeing those guys brought to justice,” he said.

Despite the theatrics and the painfully slow pace of the arraignment, the relatives and the emergency workers said they would continue to diligently observe the proceedings.

“We’re in this for the long term,” Ms. Burlingame said.

As the arraignment dragged on in Cuba, many of the spectators at Fort Hamilton began leaving. By evening, about 10 family members were left in one room. The emergency workers had all left.

Alison Kohler, a Fort Hamilton spokeswoman, said the family members were “very tired.”

“It’s been a long day,” she said.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 6, 2012, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Via Video Feed, Families Watch and Seethe.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 6th, 2012 at 9:50 am and is filed under Breaking News, New York Times, Print Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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