Photos show Padilla in chains

December 05, 2006|By McClatchy-Tribune

MIAMI -- Providing a rare glimpse of a locked-up "enemy combatant," attorneys for terror suspect Jose Padilla released declassified images of him in chains and a mask to bolster their bid to have his Miami case thrown out because of alleged mistreatment during military detention for more than three years.

The still video images show Padilla wearing blacked-out goggles, noise-blocking headphones, and shackles on his hands and feet. Dressed in an orange prison-like jumpsuit, he is being led out of his cell by three guards dressed in camouflage, riot helmets and visors at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.

The first disclosed images of his military detention were filed Friday along with a psychiatrist's sworn statement in Miami federal court to counter the U.S. government's contention that Padilla was treated humanely before his transfer here last January to face terror charges.

"Mr. Padilla asserts that he was not treated humanely, but instead was tortured and that the government's conduct was outrageous," one of Padilla's attorneys, Orlando do Campo, wrote in a court filing. He added that the treatment "has left him damaged, both mentally and physically" - leaving him unable to assist his legal team.

Padilla, 36, and two other Muslim men, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, are charged with conspiring to support terrorist activities overseas.

The trio face trial Jan. 22, though the proceeding is likely to be delayed because the U.S. government has appealed a judge's dismissal of one count in the Miami indictment. The high-profile case is built largely on classified wiretaps of defendants' communications between 1993 and 2001, when Padilla lived in Broward County, Fla., and traveled to the Middle East as a recruit for a suspected North American terror cell.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke must decide whether to toss out the indictment based on the defense team's allegation that Padilla's constitutional rights were violated by the military during his detention as an enemy combatant.

Carl Tobias, a constitutional scholar at the University of Richmond School of Law in Virginia who has followed Padilla's legal odyssey, said his attorneys' bid is a long shot.

But he said the photo of Padilla in chains and a mask, published on the front page of The New York Times yesterday, "makes an impression on people. Whether it has the same impression on the judge is another matter. It's hard to know."

Padilla had been in the Middle East allegedly training with the al-Qaida terrorist group before his arrest by the FBI in the United States on May 8, 2002.

He was designated an enemy combatant without being formally charged, though the Bush administration accused him of plotting to detonate a radiological "dirty bomb" on U.S. soil and to blow up apartment buildings in various cities.

After President Bush dropped that designation a year ago to avoid a Supreme Court confrontation, Padilla was transferred to the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami to face the terror-support charges. They are unrelated to the earlier accusations.

Padilla initially made his allegations in October.

Federal prosecutors insist that Padilla was treated humanely in the Navy brig.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.