Jose Padilla Found Guilty on all Counts in Terror Trial
Today, a federal jury in Miami found designated "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla guilty of multiple terrorism and conspiracy charges. For an embittered case that has gone on for quite a few years (Padilla was one of the first Americans to be declared an "enemy combatant" by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks), the jury spent fairly little time in deliberation before convicting Padilla - just under a day, according to the New York Times article reviewing the decision.
Much of the controversy surrounding Padilla's case concerns his rights as an American citizen vs. his (lack of) rights as an enemy combatant. In addition, his lawyers have argued that Padilla should not have been fit to stand trial, as Padilla has asserted that he was tortured when held in isolation in a military brig in South Carolina for three years (also, without any access to a lawyer.) Padilla claims he was excessively deprived of sleep and almost any stimulus while in the brig, but the government has repeatedly denied that they mistreated and/or abused Padilla.
Human Rights Watch gives a good legal summary of Padilla's case and its excessive entanglements. What seems upsetting and disturbing is that despite these complications, the jury was fairly resolute in their decision, and the notion of Padilla's alleged torture has been ambiguously left up in the air (or, rather, swept aside). His lawyers are concerned that suspicion and fear may have overruled what they believe is lack of "hard evidence" in the jury's decision.