Through hours of outbursts and objections in military court, Eddie Bracken said he had one image in his mind: that of a plane smashing into the World Trade Center tower where his sister worked.
Anger surged inside him, Bracken told reporters Sunday, a day after he sat among a group of victim family members who watched the arraignment of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. naval base where the men are being tried before a military court.
"Just listening to that rhetoric, how they perceive themselves -- it's hurtful, because they have no remorse. I don't think they even have any souls," he said.
Bracken's sister, Lucy Fishman, worked as a secretary on the 105th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. She was one of the nearly 3,000 people killed when the towers were brought down by hijacked jetliners on September 11, 2001.
Outside the courtroom Sunday, Bracken read a statement he said was a message for Mohammed and the other men.
"I came a long way to see you, eye to eye. ... If you would have this in another country, it would be a different story. They would have given you your wish to meet your maker quicker than you would realize. But this is America, and you deserve a fair and just trial, according to our Constitution, not yours. That's what separates us Americans from you and your ideology," he said.
But still, he told reporters, hearing the defendants and their attorneys criticize the proceedings was difficult.
"They're complaining, and our families can't complain no more. They took their lives. ... I wouldn't care if they were on a bed of nails. ... But it's our justice system, and they have rights," he said.
Earlier Sunday, an attorney representing one of the defendants said prolonged silence and occasional outbursts during their arraignment were signs of "peaceful resistance to an unjust system."
"These men have endured years of inhumane treatment and torture," James Connell, who is representing defendant Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, told reporters at Guantanamo Bay.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor in the case, declined to discuss the defendants' behaviors but said the military trial process is just and impartial.
"You all saw them. You saw their reactions. I saw a process that was moving forward methodically," he told reporters Sunday.
The attorneys' comments came after a 13-hour court session on Saturday -- the first appearance in a military courtroom for Mohammed and four others since charges were re-filed against them in connection with the attacks.
The hearing, which wrapped just before 10:30 p.m., offered a rare glimpse of the five men who have not been seen publicly since January 2009, when they were first charged by a military tribunal. Mohammed, Ali and the others -- Walid Muhammad Salih, Mubarak bin 'Attash, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi -- appeared to work together to defy the judge's instructions, refusing to speak or cooperate with courtroom protocol.
On Sunday, attorneys representing them told reporters that the proceedings had been unfair to their clients. They criticized restrictions that they said prevented them from discussing topics like torture.
"We are hamstrung ... before we ever start," said David Nevin, who is representing Mohammed. "The system is a rigged game to prevent us from doing our jobs."
Martins said he strongly disagreed with that assessment.
"They can talk to their clients about anything," he said.
On Saturday, silence from the defendants -- some of whom ignored the judge, while others appeared to be reading -- slowed the proceedings to a crawl.
Bin 'Attash was wheeled into the courtroom in a restraining chair. It was unclear why he was the only defendant brought into court in that manner, though he was allowed out of restraints after he promised not to disrupt court proceedings. Toward the end of the day, he took off his shirt while his attorney was describing injuries she alleged he sustained while in custody.
The judge told bin 'Attash, "No!" and warned that he would be removed from the courtroom if he did not follow directions.
At one point, bin 'Attash made a paper airplane and placed it on top of a microphone. It was removed after a translator complained about the sound the paper made against the microphone.
Hours into Saturday's proceeding, one of the defendants broke his silence with an outburst.
Bin al-Shibh shouted in heavily accented English: "You may not see us anymore," he said. "They are going to kill us."
During recesses, the five men talked amongst each other and appeared relaxed. They passed around a copy of The Economist.