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French Version

Lawyer in Jordan bombings case demands psychiatric test for client

The lawyer of an Iraqi would-be female suicide bomber in Jordan said Sunday he will demand a medical evaluation of his client whom he said suffers from psychological problems. The evaluation was necessary before the trial of Sajida al-Rishawi over deadly hotel bombings in Amman last year could resume as planned Monday, Hussein al-Masri told AFP.

"Sajida al-Rishawi told me that her uncle suffers from schizophrenia and that her sister suffers from a deep depression and that she too has psychological problems," the court-appointed lawyer said.

"I don't have any medical reports so I will ask the court that a medical team evaluate her condition to see if she can stand trial and understand the charges against her," Masri said. "This must be done before the trial can continue."

Masri met Rishawi for the first time last week after the state security court assigned him as defense lawyer, and he later said that she "appears tense."

"I explained to her the charges against her and told her that she could face the death penalty but she kept on repeating that she knows nothing and asked me more than 10 times, 'When will they send me back home?,'" Masri said.

On May 10, Rishawi also told her attorney she was "not guilty."

She was arrested four days after the November 9 bombings which killed 60 people and later confessed on state television how she tried but failed to activate an explosives belt at one of the three Amman hotels targeted.

She is the sole suspect standing trial over the deadly bombings. Rishawi has been on trial since April 24 at Jordan's state security court and could face the death penalty.

Jordan has charged several suspects over the attacks,

including Islamist fugitive Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most-wanted man in Iraq, who claimed responsibility for the bombings.

Rishawi told her lawyer she did not know Zarqawi.

Amman,15May2006
Redaction
The Daily Star


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