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Psychologist at prison says Padilla is fit for trial

Associated Press
Published February 27, 2007


MIAMI - Jose Padilla, accused of working with al-Qaida, has mild anxiety and personality disorders but is mentally able to stand trial, a prison psychologist said Monday in testimony that contradicted two defense experts.

Rodolfo Buigas, the supervisory forensic psychologist at the federal detention center in downtown Miami, rejected the defense experts' diagnosis that Padilla cannot help with his defense because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Buigas said Padilla's anxiety and antisocial personality are minor problems.

"The nature and severity of the symptoms were not sufficient to interfere with some basic capabilities," Buigas told federal Judge Marcia Cooke, who must decide Padilla's mental fitness.

The question is crucial in determining whether Padilla, 36, and two co-defendants will stand trial in April on charges of being part of a North American terror support cell that provided finances, recruits and supplies to Islamic extremists around the world.