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Judge in Padilla case orders mental evaluation
On Monday, US District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke ordered an independent evaluation of the mental state of Jose Padilla, the US citizen who was held for years without charge as an “enemy combatant” and now faces trial in Miami on charges of providing aid to a terrorist organization.
The evaluation may lead to a competency hearing. If Padilla is deemed incompetent, the charges must either be thrown out, or else the trial delayed while he undergoes psychiatric treatment.
Cooke’s decision itself will likely delay the trial, which has already been put off until January. The judge refrained from ruling on a separate motion by Padilla’s defense lawyers, who are asking that the case be dropped due to the outrageous treatment and torture of Padilla by the US government.
Padilla, a US citizen imprisoned for almost four years by the Bush administration, now suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to psychiatric experts hired by his attorneys. He is unable to differentiate, for example, between his own attorneys and government interrogators.
According to his attorneys, Padilla’s current mental condition is the result of a conscious and deliberate policy on the part of his captors who, under direct orders from the White House, made every attempt to “break” him during his captivity at a South Carolina naval brig, employing diverse forms of torture on an hourly and daily basis.
For almost four years, a brief filed by his lawyers stated, Padilla was forced to take “truth serum” drugs such as LSD and PCP, kept in solitary confinement in a tiny cell under 24-hour surveillance, deprived of all human contact, forced into “stress positions,” regularly deprived of sleep, manacled and hooded for extremely long periods of time, and routinely subjected to intensive interrogation.