An MIT educated woman accused of being an Al Qaeda operative and charged with trying to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was found mentally unfit for trial on Monday. Affia Siddiqui was evaluated by government doctors who determined she is incompetent to understand the proceedings against her at this time.
Siddiqui is accused of trying to shoot American troops after she was captured in July. While in custody, investigators said she reached under a curtain and grabbed a rifle and opened fire several soldiers and FBI agents. Siddiqui was extradited to New York to stand trial on the federal charges, which carry a 20-year prison sentence..
Concerned about her alleged ties to Al Qaeda, in 2003 Siddiqui, an American trained scientist of Pakistani decent, became the subject of an international manhunt. She was the first woman named in connection with the organization behind the 9-11 attacks.
"Ms. Siddiqui is not currently competent to proceed as a result of her mental disease, which renders her unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her defense," the evaluation provided to Judge Richard Berman said. In his administrative order, Berman suggested she receive "medically appropriate" treatment while in custody.
Investigators have said Siddiqui might have been connected to 9-11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as well as alleged Al Qaeda operative Adnan El Shukrajumah.
At the time of her arrest, officials said she was carrying maps of New York City, including pictures of several landmarks. Siddiqui's lawyers deny she has any ties to terror.
A court hearing on her mental status is set for Wednesday morning.