Hearings in Sept. 11 Case May Resume Regardless of Unresolved Points


A army decide is weighing whether or not to renew hearings within the Sept. 11 case regardless of two potential hitches: Prosecutors are nonetheless awaiting phrase from the Biden administration on a proposed plea settlement, and a court-ordered examination is underway to find out whether or not one of many defendants, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, is sane sufficient to face fees.

Hearings within the case have been on maintain since prosecutors initiated plea talks a 12 months in the past. However in a current order, the decide, Col. Matthew N. McCall, invited prosecutors and attorneys for the 5 defendants to suggest what points is likely to be tackled in a listening to in July at Guantánamo Bay.

In April, the decide ordered the appointment of a panel of three psychological well being consultants to analyze whether or not Mr. bin al-Shibh “is affected by a psychological illness or defect that renders him mentally incompetent to face trial.” A report is due July 13.

A discovering of incompetence would disqualify Mr. bin al-Shibh from pleading responsible or being prosecuted. It may result in a court docket inquiry to find out what psychological well being suppliers would possibly do to revive his competency, together with presumably forcing him to take extra aggressive psychotropic medication.

The analysis is happening at a time of outspoken international concern over the capability of the Pentagon to offer advanced well being care on the jail in southeast Cuba. Final month, the chief of the Washington workplace of the Worldwide Purple Cross issued a rare statement declaring that the 30 detainees’ “bodily and psychological well being wants are rising and changing into more and more difficult.”

In his order, Colonel McCall granted the medical doctors entry to details about what had occurred to Mr. bin al-Shibh throughout his 4 years of interrogations within the C.I.A.’s secret “black web site” community the place prisoners had been tortured.

All the report is not going to be made public. Prosecutors will likely be supplied with the choice, not the underlying information. However the medical investigation might provide insights into the long-term results of the C.I.A.’s use of nudity, sleep deprivation and bodily abuse to get the prisoners to reveal Qaeda plots.

Mr. bin al-Shibh claims that he has been stricken by noises and vibrations as a part of a yearslong marketing campaign to deprive him of sleep. Court docket testimony and filings present that he typically screams within the night time, berates guards, vandalizes his cell digicam and disrupts different prisoners’ sleep. Docs have given him antipsychotic medication, though opinions vary about his situation — from a delusional dysfunction to psychosis brought on by post-traumatic stress dysfunction, or different psychological well being maladies.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of many males accused of plotting the Sept. 11 assaults, at Guantánamo Bay in 2019, in a picture supplied by his protection crew.

One member of the psychological well being panel is Paul Montalbano, a forensic psychologist who evaluated John W. Hinckley Jr., the person who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Hinckley was discovered not responsible by purpose of madness in 1982 and confined to a psychiatric hospital in Washington for 3 a long time. Dr. Montalbano assessed his suitability for launch, which happened in phases between 2016 and 2022.

The identities of the 2 different panel members will not be recognized.

The query of competency emerged behind the scenes even earlier than prosecutors entered into plea negotiations in March 2022 with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 assaults; Mr. bin al-Shibh; and the three different defendants. Prosecutors who had been attempting to deliver the death-penalty case to trial since 2009 proposed the plea talks as they struggled to adjust to the decide’s orders to offer protection attorneys with extra details about the prisoners’ time with and therapy by the C.I.A.

In change for admitting to their roles in the hijackings, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, on the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania subject, the defendants need assurances that they might not need to serve their sentences in solitary confinement. The prisoners, who are suffering a spread of situations they blame on their torture, additionally need the Pentagon to comply with arrange a civilian-run trauma care program for them.

Prosecutors have presented some of those questions to the Pentagon normal counsel as “coverage ideas,” which require the administration to take a place on whether or not they are often accommodated.

Prosecutors have requested to name witnesses through the subsequent listening to, together with Frank Pellegrino, a retired F.B.I. agent who took half within the interrogation of Mr. Mohammed in 2007 at Guantánamo Bay.

Protection attorneys say the interrogations at Guantánamo were tainted by the years their clients spent in C.I.A. captivity. Prosecutors argue the defendants voluntarily cooperated within the interrogations.

If the decide chooses to not maintain hearings in July, the following opening on the warfare court docket calendar can be 4 weeks starting Sept. 18. The week of Sept. 11 has already been reserved by the decide in the united statesS. Cole bombing case.


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