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Judge Pohl adjourns 9/11 pre-trial proceedings until February 2014 pending mental competency assessment of Ramzi Bin al-Shib

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Judge James L. Pohl

As so it is done, for now... until at least 10-14 February 2014.
 
On Thursday, 19 December, Military Commissions Judge James L. Pohl suspended pre-trial hearings of the death-penalty case against accused 9/11 conspirators Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Walid Bin 'AttashRamzi Bin al-ShibhAli Abdul Aziz Ali; and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi pending completion of a medical evaluation of the mental compentency of al-Shibh.
 
As these pages have documented, al-Shibh has disrupted hearings deliberations four times over the past two days and was ejected from the courtroom.  
 
Judge Pohl's move came at the behest of Government prosecutors and was opposed by al-Shibh defense counsel, James Harrington.  According to a DoD spokesman, the Government determined last night that it “appears . . . that there is reason to believe” that Bin al-Shibh lacks mental capacity.  The spokesman noted that this is different from saying the Government believes that he actually lacks capacity; rather, its acknowledges that there is a question.  Once this determination is make, the spokesman noted, the request was required.
 
Judge Pohl's call for a so-called "706 evaluation" will lead to the establishment of a classified, three-doctor panel to evaluate al-Shibh and his records to assess his competency to stand trial. Judge Pohl made clear that the 706 is not an assessment of al-Shibh's mental state when he committed the crimes alleged and thus cannot form the basis for a prospective insanity defense.

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