Padilla Makes First Court Appearance
Thursday January 5, 2006 11:32 PM
By CURT ANDERSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer
MIAMI (AP) - Jose Padilla, the alleged al-Qaida
operative held as an ``enemy combatant'' for more than
three years, was transferred to civilian custody
Thursday and made his first appearance in court.
Padilla was flown to Florida from a military brig in
South Carolina and then taken under heavy security to
the federal detention center in downtown Miami. He
faces criminal charges that he was part of a U.S.
terror cell that recruited fighters and raised money
for global Islamic holy war.
Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, has been held
by the Bush administration without criminal charges
since his arrest in May 2002 at O'Hare International
Airport on a material witness warrant on suspicion of
a plot to detonate a radioactive ``dirty bomb'' inside
the United States. Bush later declared him an ``enemy
At the brief hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry
Garber explained Padilla's rights as a criminal
defendant and asked if he understood those rights.
``Yes, I do,'' said Padilla, who was dressed in a
bright orange prison jumpsuit and was shackled at the
wrists and ankles. He wore glasses and had a short
Garber set a Friday afternoon hearing for Padilla to
enter a plea and to determine if he will remain in
custody or be released on bail. Prosecutors said they
would seek pretrial detention.
The charges brought in an indictment unsealed in
November do not involve the ``dirty bomb''
allegations, contending instead that Padilla joined a
North American terror support network that sent him
overseas to train with al-Qaida and to ``murder, maim
and kidnap'' people on foreign soil.
Padilla's long detention by the Bush administration
has spawned multiple court rulings over the scope of
presidential power in the war on terror. The U.S.
Supreme Court has been asked to use Padilla's case to
define that power over U.S. citizens who are detained
on American soil.
The transfer of Padilla from military to civilian
custody was approved Wednesday by the Supreme Court,
which overruled a previous decision by the 4th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals. The lower court had refused
to allow the transfer in a decision sharply critical
of the Bush administration for using different sets of
facts to hold Padilla as an enemy combatant and then
obtain a grand jury indictment on criminal charges.
Padilla is accused of being one of the recruits of two
co-defendants in the Miami case: Kifah Wael Jayyousi,
a Jordanian who became a U.S. citizen in 1987, and
Lebanese-born Palestinian Adhan Amin Hassoun.
They are charged with raising money and recruiting
operatives for violent Islamic causes in Bosnia,
Kosovo, Chechnya, Algeria, Kashmir and elsewhere. Much
of the government's case is based on some 50,000
wiretaps that date back a decade. Their trial is
expected in the fall.
Jayyousi was also in Miami federal court Thursday,
winning a ruling from U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke
that he be released on bail. Cooke set a $1.3 million
bond, ordered electronic monitoring and that Jayyousi
not leave the South Florida area.
Jayyousi has been in special solitary confinement
since his arrest in March 2005. His lawyer, William
Swor, argued that he should be released because he
needs to prepare for a complex trial, is enduring
difficult jail conditions and is not a risk to flee to
``There is a presumption of innocence,'' said the
attorney, William Swor. ``There is a due process right
to prepare for a case.''
Cooke agreed, saying that federal prosecutors had not
provided enough evidence that Jayyousi would flee.
Jayyousi, a 44-year-old Jordanian who became a U.S.
citizen in 1987, and Hassoun are accused of raising
money and recruiting operatives for violent Islamic
causes in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Algeria, Kashmir
Swor said Jayyousi deserved bail because he has no
criminal history, served in the U.S. Navy, has family
and property in Detroit and returned to the United
States from Qatar in 2005 knowing that he was likely
to be arrested. Swor also said Jayyousi would
surrender his passport, wear an electronic monitoring
bracelet and adhere to any other restrictions.
``We're going to come back here. We're going to try
this case,'' Swor said.
Prosecutors acknowledged that Jayyousi is not a danger
to the community but insisted he could easily flee
because of a web of radical Islamic contacts he has
around the world. Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell
Killinger also said that the crimes Jayyousi is
accused of involve providing direct assistance to
terrorists who committed bombings, beheadings,
kidnappings and other violent crimes.
``He does have significant contacts and ties. He was
in contact with jihadists overseas,'' Killinger said.
Killinger also cited evidence that Jayyousi was a
follower of blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is
serving a life prison sentence for conspiring to blow
up New York City landmarks and assassinate Egyptian
President Hosnia Mubarak.