Judge orders mental exam for Cole bombing suspect

FORT MEADE — A military judge at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba is ordering a mental health examination for a prisoner accused of orchestrating the attack on the USS Cole.

Army Col. James Pohl issued the order Monday for an exam to determine whether Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is mentally competent to participate in his defense.

Prosecutors sought the exam. Al-Nashiri’s lawyers say it should be done with sensitivity to his history of being waterboarded and threatened with a gun and power drill while he was being held by the CIA in a series of secret prisons.

Pohl says he’ll hear expert testimony Tuesday or Wednesday before crafting his order.

The 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer in Yemen killed 17 crew members and wounded 37.

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