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January 22, 2008

17 Years For Jose Padilla

The spin from AP is pretty blatant:

Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up a radioactive "dirty bomb," was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and four months on terrorism conspiracy charges that don't mention those initial allegations.

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke marks another step in the extraordinary personal and legal odyssey for the 37-year- old Muslim convert, a U.S. citizen who was held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant after his 2002 arrest amid the "dirty bomb" allegations. He had faced up to life in prison.

Cooke also imposed prison terms on two other men of Middle Eastern origin who were convicted of conspiracy and material support charges along with Padilla in August. The three were part of a North American support cell for al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists around the world, prosecutors said.

Actually, a jury said that too, AP. Just in case you missed it.

Padilla was added in 2005 to an existing Miami terrorism support case just as the U.S. Supreme Court was considering his challenge to President Bush's decision to hold him in custody indefinitely without charge. The "dirty bomb" charges were quietly discarded and were never part of the criminal case.

Cooke sentenced Padilla's recruiter, 45-year-old Adham Amin Hassoun, to 15 years and eight months in prison and the third defendant, 46- year-old Kifah Wael Jayyousi, to 12 years and eight months. Jayyousi was a financier and propagandist for the cell that assisted Islamic extremists in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere, according to trial testimony. Both also faced life in prison.

The men were convicted after a three-month trial based on tens of thousands of FBI telephone intercepts collected over an eight-year investigation and a form Padilla filled out in 2000 to attend an al- Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. Padilla, a former Chicago gang member with a long criminal record, converted to Islam in prison and was recruited by Hassoun while attending a mosque in suburban Sunrise.

Padilla sought a sentence of no more than 10 years. Hassoun asked for 15 years or less and Jayyousi for no more than five years.

Padilla's arrest was initially portrayed by the Bush administration as an important victory in the months immediately after the Sept. 11, terror attacks, and later was seen as a symbol of the administration's zeal to prevent homegrown terrorism. Prosecutors repeatedly invoked al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden in the criminal case.

Hm. Prosecutors repeatedly invoked Al Qaeda and bin Ladin in a case about men illegally providing support to Al Qaeda and bin Ladin.

The MSM trope that it's always somehow dirty pool to bring up Al Qaeda and bin Ladin now extends to terrorism cases of men who actually signed an Al Qaeda recruitment form.


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posted by Ace at 02:27 PM

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