Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What A Day Of Shame: 17 Years For Padilla

I'm going to bed.

A US citizen held for more than three years without charge as an "enemy combatant" was today sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison for conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim overseas, including in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Bosnia.

Jose Padilla, a 37-year-old Muslim convert, was originally arrested in 2002 and accused of planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty" bomb and blow up buildings in Washington, but he was never charged in relation to those alleged offences.

In 2005, he was added to the case of two other men accused of supporting terrorism just as the US supreme court was considering his challenge to George Bush's decision to hold him in custody indefinitely without charge.

District judge Marcia Cooke today said she was giving Padilla some credit - over the objections of federal prosecutors - for his lengthy military detention at a navy jail in South Carolina.

She agreed with defence lawyers that he was subjected to "harsh conditions" and "extreme environmental stresses" while there.

"I do find that the conditions were so harsh for Mr Padilla they warrant consideration in the sentencing in this case," the judge said.

She also handed down sentences to his co-defendants Adham Hassoun, a Lebanese-born Palestinian, who was jailed for 15 years and eight months, and Kifah Jayyousi, a naturalised US citizen from Jordan, who will serve 12 years and eight months. All three defendents potentially faced life sentences.more

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