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Judge Rules Leader of New Mexico Jihadi Cult Not Fit to Stand Trial

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Jany Leveille, center, with her fellow jihadi cult members who are under arrest (Photo: Clarion Project)
Jany Leveille, center, leader of the New Mexico jihadi cult, with fellow members (Photo: Clarion Project)

A judge ruled that the arrested leader of the New Mexico jihadi cult was not fit to stand trial and ordered her hospitalized instead.

U.S. District Court Judge William Johnson found that Jany Leveille, who was arrested in August 2018 at the cult’s compound along with the four other adults present, suffers from a “mental disease or defect” making her unable to understand the charges she faces or the court proceedings and thus incapable of assisting in her own defense.

Leveille, an illegal immigrant from Haiti, faces firearms and conspiracy charges as well as possible terrorism charges. Other defendants include Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, son of well-known radical preacher Siraj Wahhaj, Sr., two of his sisters — Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj — and Lucas Morton.

Based on evidence found at their compound in New Mexico (on land which they illegally occupied between December 2017 and August 2018) as well as testimony by some of the older of the 11 starving children whom local police rescued from the compound, federal prosecutors say the group had “a common plan to prepare for violent attacks on government, military, educational and financial institutions.”

The teenage children said they were being given military training to carry out jihadi school shootings, among other attacks.

The five defendants were arrested last August after police raided their compound. Although federal authorities were watching the compound, they held off raiding the property. Local police moved in after hearing reports of starving and abused children at the compound.

Authorities also found the body of three-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj at the compound. Abdul-Ghani was Wahhaj’s son who suffered from epilepsy. Wahhaj is accused of kidnapping his son and bringing him to the New Mexico compound where he denied him his medication and subjected him to Islamic exorcism rituals. During these rituals (known as ruqyah), the boy would cry, scream and foam at the mouth, and his eyes would roll back in his head.  Authorities say the rituals were performed for hours a day until Abdul-Ghani died.

At present, none of the New Mexico jihadi cult members have been charged in the boy’s death. All are currently being held without bail.

Leveille will first be hospitalized for up to four months. An evaluation will then be made by doctors to determine if she eventually could become competent to stand trial. If so, she will continue to receive treatment for an “additional reasonable period of time.”

 

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