October 1, 2022

Psychiatric patients used as suicide bombers

al-Qaeda recruits mentally impaired women

As the notorious experiments in concentration camps by Nazi doctors
showed, doctors who ignore informed consent can be responsible for
atrocities. The latest instance comes from Baghdad, where psychiatric
patients are apparently being conscripted as suicide bombers. The
acting director of al-Rashad psychiatric hospital, Sahi Abub Al-Maliki,
is being questioned. Two of them blew up in a crowded market on
February 1, killing about 100 people. It was the worst attack in
Baghdad in the last six months.

Early reports asserted that the
two women had Down syndrome. Using mentally handicapped women has
obvious advantages for al-Qaeda. They are less likely to be stopped or
searched and they will readily obey instructions. In the recent attack,
one woman was given a backpack will with explosives and ball bearings
and the other a suicide vest packed with explosives. They were
detonated by remote control. The London Times saw photographs of the
women’s severed heads – both appeared to have Down syndrome.

However,
the latest theory is that they were psychiatric patients. One of the
bombers had been treated for schizophrenia and depression as an
outpatient at Ibn-Rushd hospital. She had told doctors she
had been hearing voices telling her to kill herself. The other woman
also had a
history of mental illness.

The director of al-Rashad, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Ajil, was gunned
down on his way to work in December. One theory is that that he may
have been murdered because he had refused to cooperate with al-Qaeda.

"We
believe Al-Qaeda may have approached them individually, away from their
families, and recruited them for these barbaric attacks," US military spokesman Rear
Admiral Gregory Smith told Agence France Presse. He
believes that their files and contact details may have been leaked by hospital staff.  ~ AP, Feb 18; London Times, Feb 12; AFP, Feb 19