On Wednesday, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman received permission from a U.S. judge to undergo a psychological examination to determine his mental competence, The Associated Press reports. Last week, the legal team for the former head of the Sinaloa drug cartel filed papers requesting authorization for the examination, claiming that the notorious drug lord had "suffered a marked deterioration in his mental state." "Something is not right with Mr. Guzman," the lawyers warned.
Defense attorney Eduardo Balarezo said Wednesday that his client's condition was declining. "His memory is failing," Balarezo said. "He's not remembering things."
Guzman is currently being held under "Special Administrative Measures," especially severe conditions that keep him completely isolated from inmates, limit his access to fresh air, and allow him only one hour a day outside of his cell. In the papers filed last week, Guzman's lawyers claimed that the effects of extreme isolation may negatively affect his ability to stand trial in 2018.
In March of last year, Guzman claimed that he'd borne "psychological torture" in the Mexican prison where he was held before his extradition to the United States. His lawyer at the time, José Refugio Rodriguez, told Vice News that Guzman wanted to reach an extradition agreement with the U.S. because "he can't bear the treatment he is receiving anymore." A Mexican government official disputed Guzman's claims at the time, telling a local news station that "the truth is he has not been subjected to torture, of course, or any degrading or inhuman treatment."