US Torture May Have Left Pakistani Terror Suspect Mentally Incompetent, Lawyer Says

10/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 -- The attorney for an American-trained behavioral scientist charged with trying to kill U.S. personnel in July said in court Thursday that she believes that her client was imprisoned and tortured for several years before the incident and now could be mentally incompetent.

Lawyer Elizabeth Fink told a federal judge in New York that Aafia Siddiqui, who disappeared in Pakistan with her three children in March 2003, needs a full psychological evaluation to determine whether she has post-traumatic stress disorder and is competent to help in her own defense. Fink also urged that Siddiqui, 36, be examined by experts on the effects of torture.

According to the government, which previously labeled her an al-Qaeda operative, Siddiqui surfaced July 17 with her eldest son, now 11, in an Afghanistan province after a five-year absence. The two were arrested by Afghan police, who said they received an anonymous tip that Siddiqui and her son were planning suicide bombings.

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