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Suspect in Mall Plot Sent for Evaluation

Schweddy

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Yahoo News

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A Somali man charged with plotting to blow up a shopping mall has been ordered to undergo psychiatric testing after a court hearing in which he displayed such bizarre behavior that a friend said he is "just the shell of a man."

In the courtroom, Nuradin Abdi pressed his face onto a glass-covered tabletop, jerked his head randomly and muttered as his attorney successfully sought the evaluation before trial begins.

Many of Abdi's supporters who attended Wednesday's hearing said they were disturbed to see his shuffling gait and distracted behavior. Abdi has been held in federal detention since his arrest in November.

"It was like a different person," said his 17-year-old brother, Mohamed AbdiKarani, who said Abdi is innocent. "He looked at me; he didn't know who I was."

Magistrate Mark Abel found that Abdi's behavior in jail and his attorney's difficulties communicating with him made an evaluation necessary since he might not understand the charges against him and might not be able to help defend himself.

Authorities have accused Abdi, 32, of plotting the attack on an undetermined mall with admitted al-Qaida member Iyman Faris, who is now imprisoned for plans to sabotage the Brooklyn Bridge.

After being helped to a chair, Abdi slammed his face to the glass-covered table and kept it there for a few minutes. During the proceedings, he looked around, smiled at no one in particular, and put his head back on the table.

Abdi also kicked the table, jangled his wrist and ankle shackles and kept pushing his chair back from the table. Toward the end of the hearing, he started muttering.

"The government took a healthy man, and what we have here is a broken man, mentally," said his lawyer, Mahir Sherif. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dana Peters said he did not object to the evaluation but added, "We have no evidence of any abuse of Mr. Abdi."

The transcript of Abel's discussion with attorneys about Abdi's behavior has been sealed, but Abdi acted strangely before and during Wednesday's hearing.

Jad Humeidan, executive director of the Ohio office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Abdi was his friend, and always quick to volunteer to help new Somali immigrants find translators, jobs and housing.

"Just seeing Nuradin in court was an emotional experience," Humeidan said. "This wasn't the Nuradin that we know. This was just the shell of a man."

About 100 supporters, including Abdi's family, filled the seats in the courtroom and stood along the walls. Afterward they joined about 200 other supporters in front of the courthouse, where many waved small American flags and a few held up signs that read "Nuradin is 100 percent innocent" and "Patriot Act Religious Profiling."

Abdi, who operated a small cell phone business, was arrested last November at his apartment. He was held at first on immigration violations; the mall-plot indictment was unsealed Monday.

Sherif said it was too early for him to comment about the charges but added, "It's not beyond the government to make mistakes for whatever reason."

Authorities have a third suspect under surveillance and are trying to determine how many others might have been involved, U.S. Attorney Gregory Lockhart said in published reports Wednesday.

AbdiKarani said his brother was behaving normally the last time he saw him in January, at an immigration hearing in Detroit. "We have no other choice but praying," he said.
 
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What kind of S T U P I D---S H $T is that? The man is acting to try and get away with it. His own brother said he was normal the last time he saw him. I bet you if he was trying to blow Saddam Hussein palace, there wouldn't have been no eval for him. He'd find himself wired with a battery in a wet basement.
 
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