St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Padilla terrorism charge is revived

By Associated press
Published January 31, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT

MIAMI - A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated a key terrorism charge, the only one carrying a potential life sentence, against Jose Padilla, who is accused of being an al-Qaida operative.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with federal prosecutors in Miami that the charge accusing the U.S. citizen and two co-defendants of conspiring to "murder, kidnap and maim" people overseas did not duplicate other counts in the indictment.

The Atlanta court reversed a decision in the summer by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, who said the three charges in the indictment contained nearly identical elements and could violate protections against double jeopardy.

Padilla was arrested in May 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a major U.S. city. President Bush designated Padilla an enemy combatant, and he was held without criminal charge for 3 1/2 years until he was added in 2005 to the Miami case. The dirty bomb allegations are not part of the Miami indictment.

Although defense attorneys can file a challenge, Tuesday's ruling brings the case a step closer to trial as scheduled April 16.

The other two main terrorism support charges against Padilla and his co-defendants carry maximum prison sentences of 15 years each.

Padilla, 36, is accused of being part of a North American terror support cell that provided personnel, materiel and money to extremist Islamic causes. He and his co-defendants - Adham Amin Hassoun, 44, and 45-year-old Kifah Wael Jayyousi - have pleaded not guilty.

Padilla says he was tortured in custody, and his lawyers say he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder that raises questions about his competence for trial.

Federal officials deny the torture allegations, but the judge ordered a competency exam.

[Last modified January 31, 2007, 00:30:17]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT