Mental health issue stalls trial for USS Cole suspect
ReutersGUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE Cuba -- Pretrial hearings for an alleged al-Qaida chieftain were halted for at least two months on Tuesday while doctors assess whether he is mentally fit to stand trial at Guantanamo on charges of orchestrating a deadly attack on a U.S. warship.
February 7, 2013, 11:16 am TWN
Lawyers for Saudi defendant Abd al Rahim al Nashiri have never claimed he is mentally incompetent now or that he was when the USS Cole was bombed off Yemen in 2000. But once they said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by torture in secret CIA prisons, prosecutors said they were bound by the trial rules to ask that he undergo a mental competency exam.
“It was important that we stop it, important that we do this right,” said the chief prosecutor, Brigadier General Mark Martins.
The judge set the next hearing for April 14 for Nashiri, who is accused of directing the suicide bombers who rammed a boat full of explosives into the Cole, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding 37. He could be executed if convicted on charges that include murder and attempted murder.