A medical panel found a 9/11 defendant held at Guantanamo Bay’s naval base was deemed psychotic from the years of torture he underwent while in CIA custody.
The defendant, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, reportedly complained about being under attack by invisible rays at the naval base’s prison facility. Military Judge Matthew McCall is expected to rule whether al-Sibh’s mental issues result in full competency to take part in the proceedings against him during the trial on Thursday.
BREAKING: Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a defendant in the September 11 attacks case, has been deemed mentally unfit for trial or to enter a guilty plea in his death penalty case by a military medical board. This conclusion was presented in a report to the trial judge hours ago. pic.twitter.com/kfHjHy67Lc
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) August 25, 2023
Al-Shibh’s newly disclosed diagnosis — post-traumatic stress disorder with secondary psychotic features — is the latest development revealing how the George W. Bush administration’s approval of abusive interrogation of alleged al-Qaida attackers has complicated efforts to try these men more than two decades later.
The five 9/11 defendants were subjected to waterboarding, beatings, violent repeated searches of their rectal cavities, sleep deprivation and other abuse. A Senate investigation concluded what the administration called “enhanced interrogation” was ineffective at obtaining further information. The CIA had then reportedly stopped the abusive program by 2007.
The Yemeni, accused of organizing one cell of the September 11, 2001 hijackers, is defended by his lead attorney David Bruck, who argues he be provided with post-torture trauma care and no longer be subjected to solitary confinement. Bruck further states that this verdict would be an opportunity for the United States to hold itself accountable for allowing the torturous behavior to happen in the first place.
A historic moment caught on video: Ramzi bin al-Shibh meets with Osama bin Laden in late August 2001 at the al-Farouq camp in Kandahar, AF.
Bin al-Shibh’s sole purpose in traveling there was to relay personally and directly to bin Laden that the date had finally been set by… pic.twitter.com/Uv2W2ljzlw
— The Terrible Truth Behind the War on Terror (@SlanderedSaint) August 29, 2023
President Biden declined to approve or deny the demands presented by defense lawyers in plea negotiations to settle the case. Lawyers were seeking guarantees that all five men would get physical and mental care after the damage caused from torture, ultimately being spared from solitary confinement moving forward.
Future plea negotiations have been placed on a hold until the military commission gets a new military official next month, lawyers said.
The Associated Press monitored the military commission’s hearings in Cuba on Wednesday via a relay provided by the Pentagon. The five defendants are being prosecuted jointly, making it the first time in more than a year since the men were in the Guantanamo commission room together.