Tuesday 7th of February 2023

destroying the evidence .....

destroying the evidence .....

The news that US citizen Jose Padilla has received a prison sentence of 17 years and four months should provoke outrage in the United States, although it is unlikely that there will be much more than a whimper of dissent.  

The former gang member and convert to Islam - whose arrest in May 2002 was trumpeted by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft as that of a "known terrorist," who was "exploring a plan" to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a US city - was once regarded as one of the most dangerous terrorists ever apprehended on American soil. Almost six years later, as he received his sentence, he was not actually accused of lifting a finger to harm even a single US citizen. 

While this is shocking enough in and of itself, Padilla's sentence - in what at least one perceptive commentator called "the most important case of our lifetimes" - is particularly shocking because it sends a clear message to the President of the United States that he can, if he wishes (and as he did with Padilla), designate a US citizen as an "enemy combatant," hold him without charge or trial in a naval brig for 43 months, and torture him - through the use of prolonged sensory deprivation and solitary confinement - to such an extent that, as the psychiatrist Dr Angela Hegarty explained after spending 22 hours with Padilla: "What happened at the brig was essentially the destruction of a human being's mind." 

Why Jose Padilla's 17-Year Sentence Should Disgust All Americans