By Jon Weinstein NY1
Relatives of September 11th victims wanted to make their presence felt Monday at the trial of accused al-Qaida spokesman and recruiter Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.
“I just think being here and seeing justice served will give each of us a little peace,” said Rosemary Cain, whose son, a firefighter, died on September 11, 2001.
“We will be here to stand up for what we believe in, that this cannot go on,” said Eileen Walsh, whose son, a firefighter, died on September 11, 2001. “You cannot come into our country and you cannot plan on killing Americans for the sake of them being Americans. And we’re here.”
They represent the parents and families of firefighters killed in the World Trade Center. Ghaith is not accused of taking part in the plot, but federal prosecutors say he was the al-Qaida spokesman seen on videos immediately after the attacks. He is also accused of being a recruiter for the terrorist network.
“This man on trial was the face of al-Qaida,” said Sally Regenhard, whose son, a firefighter, died on September 11, 2001. “After 9/11, he actively recruited other people to be terrorists and to kill Americans, and it’s very important for me to see justice done.”
The families say they’re glad this trial is happening at federal court in Manhattan. In fact, they’d like to see anyone accused in connection with the September 11th attacks be tried in the city.
“It’s two blocks away from where my son and all those other ones died, all the other Americans who only went to work. That was their only crime,” said Jim Riches, whose son died on September 11, 2001. “These cowards are going to go out and become terrorists, then we’ll bring them back to justice and bring them back to New York, where we’ve tried over 200 terrorists already and convicted them.”
For the families, trials like this are emotional and can bring back painful memories. Rosemary Cain still carries a picture of her son, Firefighter George Cain, with her. She says she needs to be in court and face the people she holds responsible.
“If I can survive September 11th, I can survive sitting in there, looking into the face of the devil,” she said.
“It’s not any more difficult than living our life every day knowing that we will never, ever see our son again,” Regenhard said.
Members of this group have traveled to Guantanamo Bay and Virginia for other September 11th-related trials. They say they’ll go anywhere to see justice served.