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Poll Shows Most Favor Military Trial For Alleged September 11 Mastermind

11/27/2009 11:32 AM ET

A new Gallup poll released Friday shows that most Americans believe alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried in a military court instead of a civilian court.

According to the poll, which surveyed 1,017 adults November 20 - 22, 59% of Americans believe Mohammed should be tried in a military court. Comparatively, only 36% believe he should be tried in a civilian court.

Among Republicans, 74% believe he should be tried in military court. Sixty-three percent of independents also feel he should be tried in a military court. It is only among Democrats where more favor a civilian court trial, 51% to 43%.

The poll also found that most Americans believe Mohammed should be tried somewhere other than New York City, where the attacks on the World Trade Center took place. According to the poll, 51% believe the trial should be somewhere else compared to 42% who believe it should be in New York City.

However, despite most Americans favoring a military trial, a vast majority of Americans feel that, even in a civilian trial, Mohammed will be found guilty.

The poll found that 71% of Americans feel it is very likely Mohammed will be found guilty, with another 20% saying it is somewhat likely. Only 4% said it is not too likely he will be found guilty, while 2% said it is not at all likely.

Additionally, the poll found Americans worry that a trial may give Mohammed the opportunity to voice his political opinions against America that led to the attacks in the first place. According to the poll, 34% of Americans are very concerned a trial will allow him to do it, while another 25% are somewhat concerned.

It was announced earlier in November that Mohammed, along with four other defendants, would be transferred from the Guantanamo Bay prison facility to New York City on orders from the Obama administration to face trial for masterminding the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Since the announcement, there has been quite a bit of debate as to whether having Mohammed face a civilian trial in New York City is the better option over facing a military trial while at Guantanamo.

Those in favor of the civilian trial have argued that it will be an opportunity to show the world that the American justice system is fair, while those against it have argued that it will provide Mohammed with an opportunity to use the trial as a platform to speak out against the U.S.

by RTT Staff Writer

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