HomePoliticsHearings in Sept. 11 Case Could Resume Despite Unresolved Issues - UnlistedNews

Hearings in Sept. 11 Case Could Resume Despite Unresolved Issues – UnlistedNews

A military judge is weighing whether to resume hearings in the 9/11 case despite two potential problems: Prosecutors are still awaiting word from the Biden administration on a proposed plea deal, and a court-ordered review is underway. to determine if one of the defendants, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, is sane enough to face charges.

Hearings in the case have been suspended since prosecutors began plea talks a year ago. But in a recent order, the judge, Col. Matthew N. McCall, invited prosecutors and lawyers for the five defendants to propose what issues might be addressed at a July hearing in Guantanamo Bay.

In April, the judge ordered the appointment of a panel of three mental health experts to investigate whether Mr. bin al-Shibh “suffers from a mental illness or defect that renders him mentally incompetent to stand trial.” The report is due on July 13.

A finding of incompetence would disqualify Mr. bin al-Shibh from pleading guilty or being prosecuted. It could lead to a court inquiry to determine what mental health providers could do to restore your competence, possibly even forcing you to take more aggressive psychotropic drugs.

The assessment comes at a time of frank international concern about the Pentagon’s ability to provide complex medical care at the prison in southeastern Cuba. Last month, the head of the Washington bureau of the International Red Cross issued a rare statement declaring that the “physical and mental health needs of the 30 detainees are growing and becoming increasingly challenging.”

In your order, Colonel McCall granted doctors access to information about what had happened to Mr. bin al-Shibh during his four years of interrogation in the CIA’s secret “black site” network where prisoners were tortured.

The full report will not be made public. Prosecutors will receive the decision, not the underlying facts. But medical research can offer insight into the long-term effects of the CIA’s use of nudity, sleep deprivation and physical abuse in getting prisoners to reveal al Qaeda plots.

Mr. bin al-Shibh claims that he has been tormented by noise and vibration as part of a year-long campaign to deprive him of sleep. Court testimony and records show that he often yells into the night, berates guards, vandalizes the camera in his cell and disrupts the sleep of other inmates. Doctors have prescribed antipsychotic medication, though opinions on his condition vary, ranging from delusional disorder to psychosis caused by post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health illnesses.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks at Guantanamo Bay in 2019, in a picture provided by his defense team.

One of the members of the mental health panel is Paul Montalbano, a forensic psychologist who evaluated John W. Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 and confined to a Washington mental hospital for three decades. Dr. Montalbano assessed his suitability for the release, which took place in phases between 2016 and 2022.

The identities of the other two panel members are unknown.

The question of jurisdiction arose behind the scenes even before prosecutors began plea negotiations in March 2022 with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks; Mr. bin al-Shibh; and the other three defendants. Prosecutors who had been trying to prosecute the death penalty case since 2009 proposed the guilty pleas as they struggled to comply with judge orders to provide defense attorneys with more information about how long the prisoners were with the CIA and the treatment they received.

In exchange for admitting their role in the kidnappings, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania camp, the defendants want guarantees they won’t have to serve their sentences in solitary confinement. The prisoners, who suffer from a variety of conditions they attribute to their torture, also want the Pentagon to agree to set up a civilian-run trauma care program for them.

Prosecutors have presented some of those questions to the Pentagon’s general counsel as “principles of policy,” which require the administration to take a position on whether they can be accommodated.

Prosecutors have asked to call witnesses during the upcoming hearing, including Frank Pellegrino, a retired FBI agent who participated in the 2007 interrogation of Mr. Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay.

Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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