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Padilla Makes First Court Appearance

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-5526257,00.html Padilla Makes First Court Appearance Thursday January 5, 2006 11:32 PM By CURT ANDERSON AP
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2006
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      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-5526257,00.html

      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
      combatant.''

      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
      haircut.

      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
      avoid prosecution.

      ``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
      and elsewhere.

      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.
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