Officials at the Navy brig where terrorism suspect Jose Padilla was held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant were ordered Friday to testify at a hearing to determine his psychological competency, a ruling that allows the defense to press its claims that sensory deprivation and torture in confinement have rendered the alleged al-Qaeda operative unfit to stand trial.
The ruling marks one of the few times since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that officials responsible for the jail conditions and interrogations of terrorism suspects have been called to testify, and it is the first time in the Padilla case.
I gather the hearing is “next week” but don't know exactly when. Pity it is going to be such a busy week for me, for I'd like to go. [UPDATE: Why do I have to read the Guardian, based in London, to learn that the hearing will be on the 22nd.]
Meanwhile, Padilla's co-defendants are asking to have their trial severed from his on the grounds that the media attention given to Padilla's case will poison theirs. There's some irony there, given that at least on the face of the indictment, the tarnishment seems much more likely to work the other way around: the facts alleged against the other defendants are more damning and more detailed than the rather thin gruel served up about Padilla himself.