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9/11 Families' Differing Views Of Justice

By CBS News correspondent Russ Mitchell and CBS News producer Phil Hirschkorn.

After years in detention, this week marked the first time that five men accused of direct involvement in the September 11, 2001, terrorism attacks on America made their first joint appearance in a military court, at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It was the start of a process which, the government expects, will bring justice for the families of 9/11 victims.

But, as heard from two close relatives of the victims, those families don't view the Guantanamo proceedings the same way.

"We must not forget the 2,973 people that were so brutally murdered as a result of this conspiracy," said Debra Burlingame.

Her brother, Charles, was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11.

"This is a way to be there for him, to witness for him these men getting American justice," she said.

The five men arraigned this week are accused of planning 9/11, training the 19 hijackers, and wiring them money to carry out the attacks.

"They are being given a great deal more of due process then they deserve, quite frankly," Burlingame said.

The long-delayed commissions are controversial - such as allowing government prosecutors to use hearsay evidence and statements coerced from the detainees under torture ... while limiting the witnesses whom detainees may call.

But Burlingame supports the process wholeheartedly.

"We mustn't let this turn into a focus so much on process that we forget who it is we are dealing with and what it is they did," she said.

Process is a focus for Carie Lemak, whose mother Judy was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first hijacked plane to crash into the World Trade Center. She said she rejects any mistreatment of detainees that's occurred and, she says, so would her mother.

"These are not good people, but I'm also very concerned about the system of justice that this country stands for, and want to make sure that we have trials that aren't perceived as kangaroo courts around the world," Lemak said.

"She would want to see the American system of justice demonstrated around the globe for what it is, which is a beacon of hope - that even though they can treat us terribly, we are going to treat them humanely."

At his arraignment, defendant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged architect of 9/11, told the commission he would welcome becoming a "martyr" - and that worries Lemak, who opposes the death penalty sought by the government in this case.

"I want them to go to jail for the rest of their lives," she said. "Since my mom's been murdered, the biggest kind of torture for me is not being able to hug her ever again, and to me that's the fate that these people deserve - to be locked up in a jail cell for the rest of their lives and never get to hug anyone they love again."

This month, the Supreme Court is expected to weigh in, again, on the constitutionality of the Guantanamo commissions. The Pentagon calls them fair; critics call them a "show."

"I'm concerned that it could turn into that, and I want to make sure it doesn't," Lemak said.

"It's still some form of holding these men responsible for what they did," Burlingame said.

No start date has been set for the trial of the five 9/11 detainees, who say they want to represent themselves in the proceedings.

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