By Joseph Straw New York Daily News
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — They planned the murder of nearly 3,000 people on 9/11, but Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four underlings should not be executed for their crimes, say relatives of two of their victims.
Loreen Sellitto and Phyllis Rodriguez each lost a son when their workplace at Cantor Fitzgerald was destroyed along with the World Trade Center’s south tower.
But execution would be “too good” for the quintet, said Sellitto, mother of Matthew, who was a 23-year-old rising star at the finance firm.
“I would be very comfortable knowing that these men have to spend the rest of their lives locked up and controlled for the rest of their lives by the country they tried to destroy,” said Sellitto, whose family has established a foundation in her son’s name that awards scholarships.
“I don’t think there would be any better hell for them than to be under our rule,” she added. “Death is too good.”
Rodriguez has a different reason for fighting the capital charges against KSM and his cronies. She believes the military court and the death penalty are violations of human rights. “What kind of society are we if we condone state-sanctioned murder?” asked Rodriguez, whose adventure-seeking son Greg, 31, worked in cybersecurity at the firm.
Rodriguez is certainly not alone in her views — but she and her husband Orlando are the most outspoken among 9/11 relatives. After the terror attacks, they publicly urged then-President George W. Bush not to respond militarily. Orlando, a professor of criminology and justice studies at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus, even took the stand on would-be hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui’s behalf in the sentencing phase of his trial, in which he was spared death and give life imprisonment.
Sellitto and Phyllis Rodriguez will be on hand for more proceedings beginning Monday. “I did not want to go down there (to Guantanamo Bay) and be overly emotional or aggressive or angry,” Sellitto said. “I had to make sure I could be a good representative for the relatives, all of the 9/11 community and the whole country.”