Padilla Found Guilty in Terrorism Case
By CURT ANDERSON, AP, Posted: 2007-08-16 16:59:11
MIAMI (Aug. 16) – Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant, was convicted Thursday of helping Islamic extremists and plotting overseas attacks in a case that came to symbolize the Bush administration’s zeal to clamp down on terrorism.
Padilla, wearing a dark suit and wire-rimmed glasses, showed no emotion and started straight ahead as he heard the verdict that could bring him a life sentence in prison. One person in the family section started to sob.
But it was hardly a resounding victory for the government. When Padilla was arrested in the months following the 2001 terrorist attacks, authorities touted him as an al-Qaida terrorist who planned to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb” in a U.S. city. That allegation never made it to court.
Instead, after a three-month trial and only a day and a half of deliberations, the 36-year-old Padilla and his foreign-born co-defendants were convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas and two counts of providing material support to terrorists.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke set a Dec. 5 sentencing date.
The three were accused of being part of a North American support cell that provided supplies, money and recruits to groups of Islamic extremists. The defense contended they were trying to help persecuted Muslims in war zones with relief and humanitarian aid.
The White House thanked the jury for a “just” verdict.
Read it here.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the Wikipedia entry for this man:
Partial dismissal of counts against Padilla
Two weeks after the presiding judge upbraided prosecutors for being “light on facts” in its conspiracy allegations, one of the three charges against Padilla was dismissed and another was dismissed in part.
The first of the three counts Padilla was charged with, conspiracy to murder (punishable by life imprisonment), was dismissed on August 16, 2006, on the grounds that it was duplicative of the other two counts pending against him. The second count was conspiracy to materially aid terrorists under 18 U.S.C. § 371 (punishable by five years in prison) and the third was 18 U.S.C. § 2339A (punishable by 15 years in prison). The trial court ordered that the government elect only a single criminal statute in its second count of the indictment. However, on January 30, 2007, the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit reversed the ruling and reinstated a charge of conspiracy to “murder, kidnap, and maim.”
Allegation of torture during imprisonment
In the criminal case, legal brief filed on behalf of Padilla alleges that during his imprisonment he has been subjected to torture, including sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, and enforced stress positions.
George Monbiot, writing in The Guardian, reports that Padilla’s mental faculties have been so impaired by the conditions of incarceration and interrogation that:
…he appears to have lost his mind. I don’t mean this metaphorically. I mean that his mind is no longer there.
The forensic psychiatrist who examined him says that he “does not appreciate the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him, is unable to render assistance to counsel, and has impairments in reasoning as the result of a mental illness, ie, post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated by the neuropsychiatric effects of prolonged isolation”.
Two additional motions also filed in October of 2006, argued that the case should be dismissed because the government took too much time between arresting Padilla and charging him. In essence, the argument is that for constitutional speedy trial purposes, the arrest took place prior to his detention as an enemy combatant, and not simply when he was transferred to civilian custody.