Defendant in 9/11 Case Ruled Unfit for Trial Due to Psychosis

Defendant in 9/11 Case Ruled Unfit for Trial Due to Psychosis

A military judge in the United States has ruled that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the defendants in the 9/11 attacks case, is unfit for trial due to sustained abuse that has rendered him lastingly psychotic. The ruling by Colonel Matthew McCall means that the prosecution of al-Shibh’s four co-defendants will continue without him. Al-Shibh, who remains in custody, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with secondary psychosis by a military medical panel. The panel linked his condition to the torture and solitary confinement he endured during his four years in CIA custody after his 2002 arrest.

Pre-trial hearings for the remaining defendants resumed at the Guantanamo military courtroom on Friday. The case has faced logistical problems, high turnover, and legal challenges, leading to the absence of a trial date. Al-Shibh, originally from Yemen, was part of the group of hijackers responsible for the 9/11 attacks, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

Brett Eagleson, whose father was killed in the attacks, expressed frustration with the events that led to al-Shibh’s prosecution being sidelined. Eagleson leads a group of victims’ families advocating for the release of more documents related to the investigations into the attacks. He criticized the lack of justice and referred to the wrongful torture of the defendants, stating that it denied them a fair trial.

Defense lawyer David Bruck argued that al-Shibh’s focus on stopping invisible attacks, which he believed were being carried out by his guards, made him incapable of meaningfully participating in his defense. Bruck highlighted the psychological harm caused by the CIA’s “programme of human experimentation” and emphasized the need for PTSD treatment to potentially restore al-Shibh’s competency for trial.

The five 9/11 defendants, including al-Shibh, were subjected to various forms of abuse, such as waterboarding, beatings, and sleep deprivation, while in CIA custody. The CIA ended its detention and interrogation program in 2009, and a Senate investigation concluded that the abuse had been ineffective in obtaining useful information. President Joe Biden declined to approve post-trauma care for the defendants, citing concerns about providing care and ruling out solitary confinement given the magnitude of the attacks.

In his ruling, Judge McCall acknowledged the profound and prolonged psychological harm inflicted on al-Shibh by the CIA torture program. The defense attorneys and a United Nations-appointed investigator have called for physical and psychological care for the defendants due to the lasting effects of the torture they endured.


Author: CrimeDoor

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