Terrorism Suspect Aafia Siddiqui Unfit for Trial

Terrorism suspect Aafia Siddiqui is mentally unfit to stand trial, judge says.

Nov. 18, 2008— -- A federal mental health examination has determined that terrorism suspect Aafia Siddiqui is mentally unfit for trial, according to a court order issued Monday.

Siddiqui was taken into custody following her July capture in Afghanistan and extradited to New York in August on charges of attempted murder following a shootout with security personnel who were questioning her.

Siddiqui was wanted by the FBI as far back as 2004 for her alleged connections to al Qaeda. The indictment charges that when Siddiqui, a former MIT student, was detained by Afghan National Police, she was in possession of a document which mentioned, "Mass Casualty Attack" and listed various landmarks in New York, including Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty.

She had allegedly been involved in planning attacks and recruiting, according to the FBI. During an August 2004 press conference, FBI Director Robert Mueller said, "Aafia Siddiqui is an al Qaeda operative and facilitator, she attended colleges in the Boston area, and is believed to have left Boston in January of 2003."

There have been allegations that Siddiqui has been mistreated while in custody. Some human rights groups have alleged that she was detained for years overseas in various secret sites for high-value detainees.

According to a Nov. 6, 2008, confidential forensic examination from a federal medical center in Carswell, Texas, mental health professionals have concluded, "Ms. Siddiqui is not currently competent to proceed as a result of her mental disease, which renders her unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her defense."

An excerpt of the evaluation was mentioned in the judge's order calling for a Wednesday hearing to address her mental health to stand trial.