Monday, April 16, 2007

Jose Padilla: American "Terrorist"

Jose Padilla is 36 years old. He is from Chicago, Illinois. He was arrested under the reign of John Ashcroft in 2002 under the suspicion of being a terrorist. Ashcroft believed that Padilla, a former gang member, was planning, with a sleeper cell, to detonate a "dirty bomb" in a major city. Three and a half years later, Padilla is now awaiting trial for supporting terrorism. That is a very different charge from the one that he was originally arrested on but never charged with.

This case may sound routine and vanilla, but it is far from that. This case is one that has far ranging implications for the treatment of American citizens with regards to terrorism. According to Yahoo! News, Padilla has acknowledged that he was planning to make a dirty bomb and engage in other terrorist acts. While this would make everything seem pretty black and white, the "pesky" part here is that Padilla is an American citizen. He, technically, has the right of habeas corpus (something not allowed to the international criminals) and the rights granted under the Miranda decision. As you can tell, this case is a pretty difficult one with a lot of different components to it.

In addition to the fact that he is an American, there are still many unanswered questions about the nature of Padilla's imprisonment. Padilla's law contingent has alleged that Padilla was given both LSD and PCP as truth serums. I think that this case will be telling of many things, but, most importantly, the nature of treatment that the terror suspects have been getting from the United States. The country could be taken to the International Court under the violations of the Geneva Convention with regards to its treatment of suspects. This will definitely be something to look at while it is happening.