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Author Topic: Are the 9/11 detainees mentally competent to stand trial?  (Read 1008 times)
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JohnBrowdie
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« on: December 01, 2009, 11:56:13 AM »

it's a completely different situation in a federal court than in a military tribunal.  and what happens if they are not?  and what happens if their newly minted constitutional rights are found to have been violated during their detention by the department of defense -- which is simply not geared for nor required to worry about a prisoner's constitutional rights.

and it probably won't happen for years yet. 

Quote
Mental State Cited in 9/11 Case

WASHINGTON -- When five defendants are brought before a New York federal judge to face charges for the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the first question may be whether some of them are competent to stand trial at all.

Military lawyers for Ramzi Binalshibh, an accused organizer of the 9/11 plot, and Mustafa al-Hawsawi, the conspiracy's alleged paymaster, say their clients have mental disorders that make them unfit for trial, likely caused or exacerbated by years of harsh confinement in Central Intelligence Agency custody.

The issue already has arisen in military-commission proceedings at the military's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to an August ruling by a military judge, prosecutors have made an "apparent concession" that Mr. Binalshibh "suffers from a delusional disorder-persecutory type" disorder. Mr. Binalshibh has been prescribed "a variety of psychotropic medications used to treat schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder, including Haldol, Abilify, risperidone and Ativan," according to commission records.
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In October 2008, a military medical board reported Mr. Binalshibh may suffer from "severe mental disease" that could "impair his ability to conduct or cooperate intelligently in his defense."

A military attorney for Mr. Hawsawi, Lt. Cmdr. Gretchen Sosbee, said the military judge ordered a mental evaluation of her client, but its results haven't yet been entered into the record.

It long has been unconstitutional to prosecute people who are unable to understand proceedings against them or assist in their defense, whether in federal court, court-martial or military commission.

However, Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, a lawyer for Mr. Binalshibh, said a military judge has refused to allow a full examination into her client's condition, in particular by denying access to any information regarding his treatment in CIA custody between 2002 and 2006. An order by the judge, Col. Stephen Henley, said that information was "not relevant" to Mr. Binalshibh's condition.

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