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Images Show Padilla in Chains, Goggles
Images Show Padilla in Chains; Lawyers Claim Harsh Treatment

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)

Was Jose Padilla Tortured?

Timothy Jason Jones took his own life on September 3, 2006 at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. USA. FPSS wish to extend our sincere condolences to Timothy's close friends who are regular visitors to our website. They have expressed deep grief for the passing of their friend. Timothy was a victim of drug abuse that resulted in violent consequences. May he finally rest in peace, and for those who have suffered throughout this ordeal, may they too find some conclusion to the pain they have endured.
A video of the accused terrorist shows he was subjected to unduly harsh treatment, his lawyers claim, leaving him psychologically damaged and unfit to stand trial By ADAM ZAGORIN/WASHINGTON

Jose Padilla was the first and only American citizen to be held without charge after being labeled an "enemy combatant" by President Bush. A 36-year-old former Chicago gang member, he was arrested in June 2002, following his arrival at Chicago's O'Hare airport. The U.S. claimed he had been sent by al-Qaeda to blow up a radioactive "dirty bomb" in an American city.

Now, after more than three years in custody, Padilla's lawyers are claiming that new images taken from a government video show that he received unduly harsh treatment while being held at a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. The pictures, still shots from an unclassified Department of Defense video, show his hands and feet shackled as he wears headphones and blacked-out goggles while being escorted by three guards dressed in helmets and riot gear to a dental appointment.

The new material was filed in federal court in Miami late last week, and was first reported by the New York Times. The filing comes as part of an attempt by Padilla's lawyers to win dismissal of criminal charges against him for supporting terrorism. The lawyers argue that Padilla was subjected to the equivalent of torture while in U.S. military custody, and that the experience has left him psychologically damaged and unable to participate in his own defense.

After his lawyers contested the government's right to hold him without trial, Padilla last January was transferred from military to civilian custody. He is set to go on trial Jan. 22 in Miami, along with two codefendants, on charges of supporting terrorism. The charges do not include the "dirty bomb" allegations, which the government appear to have dropped.

"The extended torture visited upon Mr. Padilla has left him damaged, both mentally and physically," said one court filing by Orlando do Campo, one of Padilla's lawyers. Padilla's filing also says that he was subjected to sleep deprivation and extremes of heat and cold, forced to stand in "stress positions" that can be painful, and given "truth serum" to make him talk.

The filing includes an affidavit from a psychiatrist who said that he apparently is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD, and cannot adequately assist his own lawyers in preparing his legal defense. According to the psychiatrist's affidavit in the court filing: "When approached by his attorneys, he begs them, 'please, please, please' not to have to discuss his case." The psychiatrist also reported that Padilla "refuses to watch the videos of his interrogation and he refuses to answer questions pertaining to aspects of the evidence in his case."

U.S. officials and spokespersons for the Department of Defense have long insisted that Padilla never faced torture, arguing in their own legal filings that he never experienced anything but "humane" treatment consistent with his safety and security.

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