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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 22:50 GMT
Padilla 'not fit to stand trial'
Jose Padilla, January 2006
Jose Padilla claims he was tortured in custody
A US citizen suspected of being an al-Qaeda conspirator is mentally unfit to stand trial, a psychiatrist for his defence has said.

Speaking at a hearing to determine Jose Padilla's competence, Angela Hegarty said he lacked the capacity to assist his counsel in the case.

He is due to be tried in April along with two co-defendants.

Mr Padilla faces life in jail if convicted of plotting to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country.

Other charges against him allege he was part of a North American terror cell that provided support to radical Islamists around the world.

Dr Hegarty said after a 22-hour examination of the suspect that Mr Padilla had suffered from intense stress and anxiety following three-and-a-half years in custody as an "enemy combatant".

Mr Padilla claims he was tortured while being held on a brig at Charleston, South Carolina, a charge that officials deny.

The psychiatrist said Mr Padilla suffered from a facial tic, problems with social contact, lack of concentration and a form of Stockholm Syndrome, by which people in captivity sympathise with their captors.

His trial is scheduled to begin on 16 April with co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi.

The co-defendants also face charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to do so.


SEE ALSO
Court reinstates Padilla charge
31 Jan 07 |  Americas
Court throws out Padilla charge
21 Aug 06 |  Americas
US court rejects Padilla appeal
03 Apr 06 |  Americas
US terror suspect's plea delayed
06 Jan 06 |  Americas
US citizen faces terror charges
22 Nov 05 |  Americas
Profile: Jose Padilla
22 Nov 05 |  Americas

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