Jose Padilla

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Jose Padilla is a U.S. citizen born in Brooklyn of Puerto Rican ancestry. He was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in May 2002 upon returning from Egypt, amid hysterical claims that he was plotting a "dirty bomb", and then quickly transferred into military custody at the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. He was held there for three and a half years without being charged with any crime, or access to any judicial proceeding whatsoever.

In November 2005, the Bush administration finally charged him in civilian court in order to avoid a unfavorable ruling by the Supreme Court in his petition for a writ of ceritorari from the lower court decision in his habeas corpus appeal. He was charged with vague counts of material support for terrorism, and the "dirty bomb" claims were quietly dropped for lack of evidence.

Padilla converted first to Christian protestant fundamentalism and then later to Sunni Islamic fundamentalism.


Legal Events

  • On April 3, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Jose Padilla's second petition for a writ of certiorari, saying that he had been given the relief he initially sought and the constitutional challenge was mooted as still hypothetical. See Jose Padilla v. C.T. Hanft 2006 LEXIS 2705; 74 U.S.L.W. 3558.
  • U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke, of the Southern District of Florida, held that Padilla's right to a speedy trial did not begin until he was charged in civilian court, and that the 3 1/2 years he spent in illegal military detention did not count.
  • Government prosecutors admit that they "lost" the final tape of Padilla's interrogation.
  • Judge Cooke later ruled that "outrageous government conduct", e.g. torture, was not sufficient to dismiss his case.


Throughout the first three and a half years of his captivity, Mr. Padilla was held in solitary continement, subjected to sleep deprivation and extreme cold. He was injected with psychotropic drugs, and interrogated for 12 hours at a time.

Trial Coverage


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