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Padilla unfit to stand trial due to post-traumatic stress: psychiatrist

[JURIST] Alleged terrorist Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] is unfit to stand trial, forensic neuropsychiatrist Dr. Angela Hegarty testified at a court ordered competency hearing Thursday. Hegarty testified that she determined from 22 hours of interviews and tests with him that Padilla is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his years in detention and is unable to assist in his defense. During cross examination by prosecutor John Shipley, Hegarty admitted that some portions of her tests on Padilla scored zero for post-traumatic stress disorder. Previously, the US Bureau of Prisons [official website] evaluation that concluded Padilla was fit to stand trial [JURIST report].

Padilla, a US citizen, was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and subsequently detained as an "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive] at a Navy military brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Initially accused of planning to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" [NRC factsheet] in the United States, Padilla went from enemy combatant to criminal defendant when he was finally charged [JURIST report] in November 2005 on unrelated counts. He was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January 2006 and has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges. Last week a district court judge ruled [JURIST report] that prison staff and experts must testify in this week's competency hearing. AP has more.

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