Thursday, August 16, 2007

In a Stunner, Padilla is Convicted

Jurors took a day and a half to convict Jose Padilla of supporting Islamic terrorism. A day and a half. In a case he was added to only when the Supreme Court looked likely to rule against the adminstration after the government had kept him incarcerated without charges for three and a half years, in solitary confinement where the lights were never turned off. Where he had been prevented for seeing a lawyer for the first two years.
Padilla was originally arrested on dramatic allegations that he planned to set off radioactive "dirty bombs" in the United States. But the current charges are not related to those accusations, and prosecutors did not present the "dirty bomb" plot to the jury.

Neither were jurors told that Padilla was held in a Navy brig for 3½ years without charges before his indictment in the Miami case.

Before trial, his lawyers tried to argue that he was no longer mentally competent to stand trial after years of solitary confinement and abuse -- allegations the government strongly denied.

I have no idea what Padilla actually did or didn't do. And after three and a half years of confinement that was not simply solitary but designed to cut him off from all interaction with other people, nobody else does either. The man--a US citizen, mind you--has been completely broken through the kind of treatment we usually associate with paranoid, totalitarian regimes. He was going to be held until they found some charge that would stick.

I don't care if he was personally blowing Osama--this isn't how this country is supposed to operate. Sentencing is set for December 5. Can't wait to see what that brings.

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