By CURT ANDERSON
MIAMI Dec 4, 2006 (AP)— Photographs of alleged al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla wearing chains, noise-blocking headphones and blacked-out goggles have been seized on by his lawyers as evidence he was subjected to harsh treatment while in military custody as an enemy combatant.
The still video images were filed late Friday in federal court in Miami as part of an effort by his lawyers to get terrorism-related charges against Padilla thrown out because of "outrageous government conduct" during the 3 1/2 years he was jailed without charges.
"The extended torture visited upon Mr. Padilla has left him damaged, both mentally and physically," Padilla lawyer Orlando do Campo said in court papers. "The government's treatment of Mr. Padilla has robbed him of his personhood."
The images, taken from an unclassified Pentagon video, show Padilla chained hand and foot, wearing headphones and goggles, and being led out of his cell by guards dressed in camouflage and wearing riot helmets and visors. The images are the first publicly released photos of his detention at a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.
The existence of the video was first reported Monday by The New York Times, which published two photos. One of Padilla's lawyers, Andrew Patel, said he was prevented by court rules from releasing a copy of the video or allowing a reporter to view it.
Patel did verify, however, the Times' account that one guard on the video states that Padilla is being led from his cell to undergo dental work.
Federal prosecutors and Pentagon officials have repeatedly denied Padilla was tortured. In court papers, they said that he was humanely treated and that the tactics used were for "safety and security" reasons.
"If they pose a threat to the individuals charged with transporting them, clearly appropriate measures must be taken to protect the guards and any other personnel involved," a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said Monday.
A spokeswoman for R. Alexander Acosta, the U.S. attorney in Miami, had no comment Monday.
Caption for images to the right: In this undated image taken from unclassified Defense Department video, filed with the court by defense lawyers Friday, Dec. 1, 2006, terrorism suspect Jose Padilla is shown handcuffed and shackled during his military detention. Padilla and two co-defendants are charged with being part of a North American support cell that provided money, supplies and recruits to Islamic extremists worldwide. (AP Photo/U.S. Government)