Family of Indefinitely Detained American Seeks International Help

Anybody remember Jose Padilla?


The family of Jose Padilla, an American citizen captured on U.S. soil and held without charge by the military as an enemy combatant, filed a petition (PDF) with the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday seeking a human rights review of Padilla's treatment.

"The U.S. justice system denied a day in court to a U.S. citizen who was arrested and then tortured on U.S. soil by his own government," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Steven Watt explained in an advisory. "The U.S. has historically been a leader in ensuring access to justice for human rights violations around the world, but it has effectively closed the courtroom door to all victims and survivors of the Bush administration's torture regime. Denied redress in U.S. courts, torture survivors like Padilla are now left with no choice but to turn to international justice."

Padilla and his mother, Estella Lebron, have maintained for years that he was tortured while in U.S. custody, including being forced into stress positions, being kept awake for days at a time and being fed LSD and PCP against his will. The Bush administration ultimately claimed he was engaged in a plot to blow up a so-called "dirty bomb," but he was never charged with such a conspiracy. After three years in military custody, he was moved into the civilian system and convicted of planning to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas.