Civil Liberties

Padilla Case Gets Underway

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The original "dirty bomber" suspect, U.S. citizen Jose Padilla, is finally going to trial, as a defendant in a conspiracy trial in a federal court in Miami. Details from the AP:

Padilla, a 36-year-old former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert, has been in federal custody since his 2002 arrest at O'Hare International Airport. He was initially accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States and was held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant at a Navy brig, but those allegations are not part of the Miami indictment.

Padilla was added to the Miami case in late 2005 amid a legal battle over the president's wartime powers of detention involving U.S. citizens. His lawyers had fought for years to get him before a federal judge.

"The crimes he has been charged with pale in comparison to the initial allegations," said University of Miami law professor Stephen Vladeck. "This is a far cry from being a major front in the government's war on terrorism."

Instead, Padilla and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, both 45, stand accused of being part of a North American support cell for Islamic extremists in Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. All have pleaded not guilty and face possible life in prison if convicted.

More here.

The Padilla case is a real dog all around. If he was guilty as charged, absolutely nothing in the war on terror was gained by denying him rights and pushing back his trial (let's ignore for a second the way the charges have been shaved way, way down). If he's not guilty, then his captivity undermines government claims that they're not on some sort of extra-Constitutional bender when it comes to detainees.

Reason on Padilla here, here, and here.

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  1. Franz Kafka seems to have written the playbook on this case.

  2. You fools! Do you think it’s just a coincidence that Jose Padilla’s hearing and Floyd Landis’ hearing are beginning on THE SAME DAY????

  3. as long as we’re charging people with criminal conspiracy, let’s see the Bush league take a few charges. The did, after all, conspire to defraud the USA into (a failure of) a war of aggression.

    Cheney, Powell, Rice, Bush…At least as guilty as Jose “I converted to Islam in prison” “dirty bomber” Padilla. Is the dirty bomber angle (as heralded by our AG, live from a Moscow news studio) even included in the charges Padilla’s (finally) being tried for?

  4. Aren’t we actually talking about Abdullah Al Muhajir in this case?

    He went to all of the troube to be called by that name, the least one could do is respect that.

  5. see: Moorish Science Temple

    I sometimes entertain myself by imagining the scene where some tenured middle eastern Islamic higher up meets with a band of US urbanites who converted to Moorish Science Temple’s flavor of Islam while doing prison time.

    Like someone converting to Christianity based on having seen Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” or Kevin Smith’s “Dogma” while in jail for stealing.

  6. If he’s not guilty, then his captivity undermines government claims that they’re not on some sort of extra-Constitutional bender when it comes to detainees.

    And absolutely no one will get so much as a wrist slap for that. Not only have the terrorists won, they’ve taken over our government.

  7. Warren,

    They haven’t taken over our government. They ARE the government.

  8. I wonder if he’ll get credit for time served for the time he was held, pre-indictment, as an enemy-combatant. Somehow I doubt it.

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