WASHINGTON — A military judge at Guantanamo Bay has ruled one of the 9/11 defendants unfit for trial after a military medical panel found that the man's sustained abuse in CIA custody years earlier has rendered him lastingly psychotic.
The judge, Col. Matthew McCall, said the incompetency finding for Ramzi bin al-Shibh meant the prosecution of his four co-defendants would continue without him. Al-Shibh remains in custody.
McCall issued his ruling late Thursday. Pre-trial hearings for the remaining defendants resumed Friday in the military courtroom at the U.S. naval base on Cuba. No trial date has been set for the case, which has been slowed by logistical problems, high turnover and legal challenges.
A Yemeni, al-Shibh is accused of organizing one cell of the 19 hijackers who commandeered four commercial airplanes to carry out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people outright in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The attacks were the deadliest of their kind on U.S. soil.
The attacks, and the American response to them, altered the course of history. They led the George W. Bush administration to take extraordinary steps in what it called a war on terror: invading Afghanistan and Iraq, setting up an extraordinary program of CIA interrogation and detention, and creating the special prison and military commission for suspected violent extremists at Guantanamo.
A military medical panel last month…