GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – The behavior of the five defendants charged with orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks during their arraignment Saturday was a form of “peaceful resistance to an unjust system,” according to one of their lawyers who spoke at a news conference Sunday.

“The accused refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the military commissions,” said James Connell, a lawyer for Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali. The “arraignment demonstrates that this will be a long, hard-fought but peaceful struggle against secrecy, torture and the misguided institution of the military commission.”

Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four co-defendants refused to speak during the 10-hour hearing Saturday, which included a reading of the capital charges against them, including murder in violation of the law of war, hijacking and terrorism.

The defendants variously prayed demonstratively in court, stripped off a shirt to show the marks of ill treatment, read magazines, shouted at the judge, and whispered constantly with each other.

Chief military prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins noted that disruptive behavior is not new to courts, but judges tend to be “careful about employing the ultimate sanction of expulsion, choosing instead to build a patient and methodical record and moving the case forward while preparing the ground for eventual expulsion.”

The defense also questioned the ability of the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, to oversee a capital case with multiple defendants.

Pohl, the chief judge at Guantanamo, has appointed himself to the two major cases under way at Guantanamo: the 9/11 case and the prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi of Yemeni descent who was arraigned here last November on charges of murder and terrorism in connection with the 2000 al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. sailors.

The defense noted that there are eight other judges available, but Pohl already has the two most high-profile cases at the military detention center.

“Do we think he is a glory hound? I cannot answer that,” said Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, the lawyer for Saudi co-defendant Mustafa al-Hawsawi, in response to a question. But Ruiz said it would be better to have separate judges ruling on similar issues in different cases rather than Pohl deciding in both cases.