ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A Pakistani woman accused of trying to kill a U.S. soldier and FBI agents while she was in custody in Afghanistan is mentally unfit for trial, a court-ordered psychological evaluation determined.
Aafia Siddiqui is unable to understand the nature and consequences of court proceedings and cannot assist properly in her defense, concluded the evaluation performed at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman in Manhattan scheduled a conference Wednesday for lawyers to discuss what should happen next in the case, including the possibility of medication being appropriate for Siddiqui's depression.
Siddiqui, who was labeled an al-Qaida supporter by the government in 2004, was charged with attempted murder and assault after she was accused of grabbing a rifle at a police station in Afghanistan in July and shooting at U.S. Army and law enforcement personnel. She was shot and wounded as well.
In August, she was brought to the United States to face the charges.
At the request of her lawyer, Elizabeth Fink, and federal prosecutors, she was transferred last month to the Texas facility which specializes in mental health treatment for women.
Fink said Monday that she is not surprised her client was deemed incompetent for trial after suffering enormous psychological pain.
"There's every reason to believe that she was broken and that what happened to her that put her in this state was caused by her being held by the dark side, whether that's the Americans or the Pakistanis or the Afghanis," Fink said.
Janice Oh, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors, said the office had no comment.