A military judge has just ruled that the 9/11 detainee who was subjected to “enhanced interrogation” by the CIA is not mentally fit to stand trial.
“Col. Matthew N. McCall, the judge, disqualified Ramzi bin al-Shibh, 51, from what had been a five-defendant conspiracy case in an 11-page ruling on Thursday evening,” the New York Times reported. “Mr. bin al-Shibh was charged as an accomplice in the attacks that killed 2,976 people, and is accused of helping organize a cell of hijackers in Hamburg, Germany, whose leader commandeered Flight No. 11 and flew it into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.”
“The totality of the facts demonstrates an accused who is wholly focused on his delusions,” McCall wrote. “Again and again, he focuses his counsel’s work on stopping his delusional harassment, (which) demonstrates the impairment of his ability to assist in his defense.”
In response to the ruling that the accused terrorist was too psychologically damaged to help defend himself in the death-penalty trial, the Times noted that the finding “comes amid speculation that the CIA may have gone too far years ago in its interrogation methods with the prisoner.”
“The decision appeared to tacitly vindicate a claim by the prisoner’s criminal defense lawyer, David I. Bruck, that the C.I.A. torture had made the Yemeni prisoner insane,” the newspaper added.
Bruck faulted al-Shibh’s CIA detention from 2002 to 2006 for breaking him, saying that in addition to being held in solitary confinement and deprived of sleep, his client was forced to stand chained and in a diaper for up to three days at a time.
The attorney said al-Shibh remains trapped in an endless cycle of sleep deprivation and cannot help mount a defense — the defendant claims he was assaulted by an invisible system of sleep deprivation that caused his bed and cell to vibrate and that stung his genitals.
More from the Times:
Prosecutors had urged the judge to reject the Aug. 24 finding by a team of U.S. military psychiatrists and a forensic psychologist that Mr. bin al-Shibh has “a mental disease or defect” that left him “unable to understand the nature of the proceedings against him or cooperate intelligently” with his legal team.
The sanity board diagnosed him as having post-traumatic stress disorder with secondary psychotic features as well as a delusional disorder.
Bruck said al-Shibh’s “complex delusions and hallucinations” are “omnipresent” at legal meetings and that his legal team spends most of its time trying to mollify their client or interceding on his behalf with prisoner guards concerned about his angry outbursts, which includes attempts to destroy his cell.
Pretrial proceedings will continue for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the other three defendants, the judge ordered.
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