Posted on Aug 16, 2007
After suffering three years of isolation, alleged torture and constitutionally suspect detainment, Jose Padilla has been convicted of terrorism conspiracy charges. The government’s key piece of evidence was an al-Qaida application, which Padilla was accused of filling out in Arabic, using an alias.
One of his lawyers had this to say about the proceedings: “In this case, you will see how in the absence of hard evidence, a suspicion can be fueled by fear, nourished by prejudice and directed by politics into a criminal prosecution.”
New York Times:
Mr. Padilla’s extraordinary legal journey began in May 2002, when he was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and taken into military custody. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Mr. Padilla’s capture a month later in a special news conference from Moscow, saying that an “unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive dirty bomb” had been disrupted, an attack with the potential to cause “mass death and injury.”
He was held in isolation on a military brig in South Carolina for more than three years, and was transferred to civilian custody last year only after the Supreme Court considered taking up the case. Mr. Padilla’s lawyers tried in vain to have him found incompetent to stand trial on grounds that he was tortured in the brig. The government said he was never mistreated.
The dirty bomb allegations that made Mr. Padilla a high-profile terror suspect in 2002 were not part of the case here. Instead, Mr. Padilla and two co-defendants of Arab descent were charged with conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas.
Padilla’s isolation included sound and vision deprivation.