Mental exam delays hearings in USS Cole bombing case
A U.S. military judge Tuesday suspended hearings in the case of a Saudi Arabian man charged with bombing a U.S. warship so he can undergo psychiatric evaluation.
The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, ordered that a medical examination and testimony be completed by mid March to determine whether the defendant, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome or another psychological illness.
Al-Nashiri, 48, is charged with the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 that killed 17 U.S. sailors, as well as in the attack on a French merchant vessel. He faces the death penalty.
After his capture in 2002, al-Nashiri was held for several years in secret CIA prisons outside the United States. He was subjected to a number of waterboardings, a form of torture that resembles drowning, according to documents released in 2009. In 2007, the defendant said he confessed to the Cole attack as a result of the torture.
Al-Nashiri is being held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The court proceedings were televised on closed circuit broadcast to family members and media in Guantanamo and at Fort Meade, Maryland.
.The military court has ruled that information gathered through torture may not be used by the prosecution.