Before the 9/11 trial begins, Chief Prosecutor Guantánamo declares his unexpected retirement

July 12, 2021

The chief prosecutor of the alleged 9/11 conspirators announced his surprise retirement Thursday, less than two months before the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, making a trial in the case appear increasingly unlikely.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins announced his retirement after a decade on the job in a message to the families of the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11.Martins had previously postponed his retirement several times and was set to remain in his position until 2023.There was no explanation given for his early departure.

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Martins is stepping down “in the best interests of the ongoing cases,” according to a message obtained by NPR from Karen Loftus, director of the prosecution team’s Victim Witness Assistance Program.

It cited Martins’ long military career and noted that military court proceedings in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will resume soon after a more than a year pause due to the pandemic, so “this is the time to transition to new leadership.”

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