Padilla: exhibits concentration-camp syndrome


Richard Moore

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Psychiatrist says US terror suspect has Stockholm syndrome
Published: Thursday February 22, 2007

A psychiatrist told a court in Miami US terror suspect Jose Padilla is unable to
assist in his defense as he identifies with the military captors who held him 
for more than three years.

Speaking at a hearing held to determine whether Padilla is fit to face trial on 
charges of aiding Al-Qaeda, forensic neuropsychiatrist Angela Hagerty said 
Padilla suffers from symptoms of the Stockholm syndrome, in which captives 
identify with their captors.

"He's constantly advocating for the position of the government," said Hagerty, 
who examined Padilla between February and June 2006 and was called to the 
witness stand by the defense lawyers.

"He lacks the capacity to assist the counsel in his case," she said. "His 
reasoning is impaired."

Padilla was held for three and a half years without charges at a navy prison 
before he was allowed to go on trial.

His lawyers claim Padilla developed severe mental health problems while he was 
held by the military, and that he was unable to understand the legal 

Padilla, 36, has claimed he was subjected to sleep deprivation, extreme heat and
cold, threats of execution, exposure to noxious fumes, and was forced to wear a 
hood and stand in one position for extended periods of time.

His lawyers also claim he was given "truth serum" in the form of LSD or PCP 
during his detention in a military prison.

Hagerty told the hearing that during her interviews, Padilla appeared anxious 
and detached, was sweating, had facial tics, and that his pupils were dilated.

She said Padilla was convinced he had signed a pledge not to reveal what had 
happened in the Navy brig where he was held from 2002 to 2005.

She said Padilla believed that "if he speaks about what went on in the brig, 
something terrible might happen."

Officials from the military prison were expected to testify at the hearing.

Motions filed by the two sides refer to a bureau of prisons psychiatric report, 
which they say declares Padilla competent to stand trial. Hagerty disagreed with
the conclusion, and insisted there was nothing in the report that contradicts 
her findings. The report has not been released to the public.

Padilla and two others are accused of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim 
persons outside the United States, which carries a maximum life sentence. 
Padilla is also accused of conspiracy to provide assistance to terrorists.

Padilla, a former Chicago gang member who converted to Islam, was detained in 
2002 at a Chicago airport after returning from Pakistan, and taken to the navy 
prison in South Carolina. US authorities defended his detention, saying he was 
an "enemy combatant" in a time of war.

After Padilla's lawyers moved to challenge his military detention before the 
Supreme Court, he was charged with "conspiracy to advance violent jihad" and 
transferred to the civilian court system in Miami.

Federal prosecutors accuse Padilla of participating in a US-based Al-Qaeda 
terror cell that supplied recruits and funding to Islamic extremists abroad.

Initially, the government alleged that Padilla had conspired to detonate a 
radioactive "dirty bomb" on US soil. But the federal indictment makes no mention
of the alleged bomb plot.

Padilla has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to start April 16.

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