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Psychological exam ordered for Pakistani doctor charged in US with terrorism

ISIS flag (DoD Photo/Released)
September 19, 2020

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A psychological exam has been ordered for a Pakistani doctor who has been in custody in the U.S. state of Minnesota since his arrest in March on a terrorism charge.

Muhammad Masood has been indicted on one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

The former researcher at the Mayo Clinic is accused of telling paid FBI informants that he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and wanted to carry out lone-wolf attacks in the United States. He also allegedly voiced his desire to travel to Syria to fight for IS.

He was arrested on March 19 by FBI agents at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The psychological exam is meant to judge Masood’s “competency to stand trial and assist in his defense,” according to the order. Masood’s attorney has said the defendant does not understand the court proceedings.

Prosecutors say Masood was in the United States on a work visa. They allege in court documents that from January to March, Masood made several statements to paid informants pledging his allegiance to IS and its leader. He believed the informants were members of IS, they say.

Court documents do not name the clinic where Masood worked. The Mayo Clinic has confirmed that Masood formerly worked at the medical center, but said he was not employed there when he was arrested.