The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 40.0°F | Partly Cloudy and Breezy
Article Tools

A federal prosecutor in Manhattan said on Thursday that two government psychiatrists had concluded that a Pakistani neuroscientist charged with trying to kill U.S. soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan had been faking her symptoms of mental illness.

An earlier court-ordered psychological evaluation had concluded that the neuroscientist, Aafia Siddiqui ’95, age 37, was unfit for trial as a result of a mental disease, “which renders her unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her defense,” a court document shows.

Then, last month, prosecutors said two new evaluations by government-retained psychiatrists had found that she was not suffering from mental illness. But the prosecutors had not previously said the doctors concluded that she was faking.

On Thursday, an assistant U.S. attorney, David Raskin, told a judge that the psychiatrists, each working independently and unaware of the other’s findings, concluded that the symptoms that had been seen “were attributed to malingering.”

“It was manipulation by the defendant,” Raskin told Judge Richard M. Berman, “as opposed to any signs of serious mental illness.”

One psychiatrist wrote that Siddiqui “has most likely fabricated reported psychiatric symptoms to give credibility to her claims that she suffers a mental disorder.”