RICHMOND, Va. – A federal appeals court says a mentally ill North Carolina man accused of trying to join al-Qaida-linked fighters in Syria can be forcibly medicated so he can stand trial.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed a lower court ruling ordering Basit Sheikh to be forcibly injected with anti-psychotic medication.
Sheikh's attorney urged the court last month to block his forced medication, arguing neither the public nor the government would be harmed if Sheikh was civilly committed instead of prosecuted.
But Judge Dennis W. Shedd wrote in the panel's opinion that the government's interest in prosecuting Sheikh goes beyond simply protecting the public.
Sheikh can appeal to the full appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court. His attorney didn't respond to a message left at his office.