Appeals Court Balks at Approving Padilla Plan

Appeals Court Balks at Approving Padilla Plan
The military imprisoned Jose Padilla without charges or a trial for more than three years, accusing him of plotting to detonate a radiological “dirty bomb” and conspiring to blow up apartment buildings in the United States. Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Padilla on terrorism charges without mentioning the bombing plots. Yesterday, a federal appeals court ordered the government to explain why.

The Richmond-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit declined to authorize Padilla's transfer from military to Justice Department custody until the government elaborates on “the different facts that were alleged by the President to warrant Padilla's military detention” as compared with “the alleged facts on which Padilla has now been indicted.”

In a brief order, the court indicated that it could seek to block the transfer entirely if a three-judge panel is not satisfied with the government's answers.

The court also said it might vacate its earlier decision that affirmed the president's power to detain Padilla as an “enemy combatant” in the first place, which would be a blow to the Bush administration as it continues looking for terrorists.

I hope the 4th Circuit does block the transfer. Regardless of allegations, no U.S. citizen should be held in prison for 3 years without being charged with any crime. If Mr. Padilla was a young, blonde college girl, the yammering heads on television would have discussed this case every day. Just because Mr. Padilla came from Logan's Square doesn't mean he is not entitled to all rights Americans supposedly enjoy.

Nobody should be above the law, even the Bush Justice Department, and as an obvious adjunct, nobody should stripped from the protection of the law, even alleged terrorists. I realize the Cold War is over, but I thought freedom and democracy won!

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on December 1, 2005 9:42 AM.

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