Dirty bomber, terrorist, enemy combatant, U.S. citizen Jose Padilla gets 17 years

Alleged dirty bomber, terrorist, American citizen Jose Padilla has received a sentence of 17 years.

"Convicted terrorism supporter gets 17-year sentence"

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al Qaeda to blow up a radioactive "dirty bomb," was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and four months on terrorism conspiracy charges that don't mention those initial allegations.

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke marks another step in the extraordinary personal and legal odyssey for the 37-year-old Muslim convert, a U.S. citizen who was held for 3½ years as an enemy combatant after his 2002 arrest amid the "dirty bomb" allegations. He had faced up to life in prison. ...

Padilla was added in 2005 to an existing Miami terrorism support case just as the U.S. Supreme Court was considering his challenge to President Bush's decision to hold him in custody indefinitely without charge. The "dirty bomb" charges were quietly discarded and were never part of the criminal case.
So Padilla is off to jail, where one can assume that a threat of solitary confinement won't affect him in the least. In fact, it's possible that no stimulus whatsoever affects Padilla after being tortured while being detained by George W. Bush.

The prosecution was helped a great deal by the fact that they apparently lost videos of Padilla's interrogation (read: torture) at the hands of U.S. officials during the three-plus years he was held.

Did Padilla receive a fair trial following his "extraordinary personal and legal odyssey?" Not so much. As Glenn Greenwald wrote:

Worse still, the notion that Padilla received a "fair trial" is dubious, to put it mildly, and will undoubtedly be vigorously contested on appeal. Last year, the New York Times obtained a copy of a video from Padilla's imprisonment which showed techniques that can only be described as torture -- systematic sensory deprivation and gratuitous humiliations which clearly broke Padilla as a human being in every sense that matters, all before he had been charged, let alone convicted, of anything. Whether a person subjected to a torture regimen of that severity can possibly receive a "fair trial," in light of his obvious inability to participate meaningfully in his own defense, looms darkly over this entire proceeding.
As the N.Y. Times wrote almost a year ago:

We will probably never know if Mr. Padilla was a would-be terrorist. So far, this trial has been a reminder of how Mr. Bush’s policy on prisoners has compromised the judicial process. And it has confirmed the world’s suspicions of the United States’ stooping to the very behavior it once stood against.
Good bye, Jose Padilla. We hardly knew ye. Or whether you were a terrorist. But we know you were tortured.

--WKW


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