Family Members of 9/11 Victims Welcome the Federal Prosecution of Some Detainees While Criticizing Use of Military Commissions for Others

CONTACT: Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or

WASHINGTON – In light of the announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder designating several alleged 9/11 conspirators held at Guantanamo to be tried in civilian federal courts in New York, the organization September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows announced its support for the decision. The September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows represents family members of 9/11 victims and advocates for trying the detainees in U.S. federal courts, and not in military commissions. They believe it is of the utmost importance for those accused of these heinous acts to be treated in a constitutionally sound manner. Only in that way will they get the justice they deserve.

Talat Hamdani lost her first-born 23 year old son, Mohammad Salman Hamdani, at WTC II on September 11, 2001. Salman worked at Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Manhattan. He was an NYPD Cadet and NYS Certified Paramedic. He responded to the call of duty voluntarily. Being a Muslim American, his noble actions were investigated and the family was notified six months later, on March 20, 2002, that his remains were indeed found near the second tower on October 23, 2001. Salman is also mentioned in the Patriot Act for his heroism as a Muslim American. Talat’s husband also died of a broken heart on July 21, 2004. Talat Hamdani has since become an activist for civil liberties and human rights.

Nancy Meyer is an Environmental Education Consultant and Project Director, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. She is the sister-in-law of United Flight 93 victim Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas and mother of three living in rural Nebraska, where she is a School Board member.

John M. Leinung is the step-father of Paul J. Battaglia, WTC Tower 1, 100th floor, Marsh & McLennan. Paul was 22 yrs. old, a 2000 graduate of Binghamton University School of Management. He was the former General Manager of WHRW, the B.U. radio station.

Donna Marsh O’Connor, Liverpool, NY, teaches writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University. She lost my daughter Vanessa Lang Langer on 9/11. She worked in the WTC Tower II. She was four months pregnant and her body was found whole and intact on 9/24/2001.

Adele Welty is a retired social worker who currently is a member of Peaceful Tomorrows. She had four children and seven grandchildren, and lives in the same house she resided in when her son, Firefighter Timothy Welty, was born. He was lost in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and left a young son and daughter. In 2004, Adele traveled to Afghanistan to meet with civilian families affected by the military campaign there. She also participated in a delegation to Amman, Jordan, in 2005, bringing humanitarian supplies to Iraqi refugees from Falluja. In 2007, she spoke at a Human Rights Conference in Guantanamo, Cuba and joined activists protesting the prison there. In 2008, she attended a meeting of LaOnf in Erbil, Iraq and helped kick start the PT LaOnf Campaign here in the states. She has been active in calling attention to challenges faced by underrepresented minorities affected by 9/11, and has lobbied to remove negative provisions from proposed immigration legislation. She opposes capital punishment and testified for the defense in the Moussaoui trial.

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