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Padilla terror trial delayed for three months for competency evaluation

[JURIST] The federal district court that will hold the trial of alleged terrorist Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and two other alleged al-Qaeda operatives announced Friday that it will delay the trial for 3 months, partly in response to the defense’s request to determine Padilla’s mental competency [JURIST report]. Evaluations of Padilla by a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist suggest that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his years in detention in a US naval brig as an "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive], affecting his ability to assist his lawyers in preparing his defense. US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile] of the Southern District of Florida [official website] has delayed the trial before [JURIST report].

Padilla, a US citizen initially suspected of planning to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" [NRC factsheet] in the United States and classified in 2002 as an enemy combatant subject to indefinite detention, was indicted [JURIST report] in late 2005 on unrelated terrorism charges. He was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January of last year and has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report]. Before this most recent delay, his trial was scheduled to begin January 22. AP has more.

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