US man guilty of al-Qaeda aid


Summary

Jose Padilla, 36, was convicted of supporting Islamic terrorists and conspiring to kill, kidnap and maim people, following a three-month trial.

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VIDEO: 'Aiding the al-Qaeda'

Former Chicago gang member Padilla was arrested after telephone conversations with his co-conspirators were wire-tapped.

Padilla's co-accused, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael, were also convicted of the three charges against them. All three men face life in prison.

The White House was quick to hail the verdict. "We commend the jury for its work in this trial and thank it for upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all," said spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

'Enemy combatant'

Padilla was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Chicago before moving to Florida, after converting to Islam.

He was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare airport in May 2002 on his way home from a trip to Egypt.

Named as an "enemy combatant", and accused of masterminding a dirty-bomb plot against the US, he was held without charge at a navy prison for more than three-and-a-half years.

But he was never charged in connection with that allegation, instead being transferred to the civilian justice system and accused of aiding a US-based al-Qaeda cell which supplied money and recruits to extremists abroad.

He and his co-defendants were charged with conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and other countries, between 1993 and 2001.

Mistreatment allegations

The main piece of evidence against him was a "Mujahideen data form" found in Afghanistan in 2001 that was filled out under an alias and bore Padilla's fingerprints.

"You are already inside the Al-Qaeda organisation when you get this form to fill out," government lawyer Brian Frazier told the court.

Defence lawyers claimed charges against the three men were politically motivated, and that the trio had links with Afghanistan and Bosnia because of humanitarian aid work.

"Jose was not a member of any support cell because there wasn't one. He did not commit violence. There were no victims, real or imaginary," Padilla's lawyer Anthony Natale told the jurors.

His defence team say Padilla was subjected to serious mistreatment, including sleep deprivation and threats of execution, while in military detention. US authorities deny their claims.


Jose Padilla, 36, was convicted of supporting Islamic terrorists and conspiring to kill, kidnap and maim people, following a three-month trial.

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VIDEO: 'Aiding the al-Qaeda'

Former Chicago gang member Padilla was arrested after telephone conversations with his co-conspirators were wire-tapped.

Padilla's co-accused, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael, were also convicted of the three charges against them. All three men face life in prison.

The White House was quick to hail the verdict. "We commend the jury for its work in this trial and thank it for upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all," said spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

'Enemy combatant'

Padilla was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Chicago before moving to Florida, after converting to Islam.

He was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare airport in May 2002 on his way home from a trip to Egypt.

Named as an "enemy combatant", and accused of masterminding a dirty-bomb plot against the US, he was held without charge at a navy prison for more than three-and-a-half years.

But he was never charged in connection with that allegation, instead being transferred to the civilian justice system and accused of aiding a US-based al-Qaeda cell which supplied money and recruits to extremists abroad.

He and his co-defendants were charged with conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and other countries, between 1993 and 2001.

Mistreatment allegations

The main piece of evidence against him was a "Mujahideen data form" found in Afghanistan in 2001 that was filled out under an alias and bore Padilla's fingerprints.

"You are already inside the Al-Qaeda organisation when you get this form to fill out," government lawyer Brian Frazier told the court.

Defence lawyers claimed charges against the three men were politically motivated, and that the trio had links with Afghanistan and Bosnia because of humanitarian aid work.

"Jose was not a member of any support cell because there wasn't one. He did not commit violence. There were no victims, real or imaginary," Padilla's lawyer Anthony Natale told the jurors.

His defence team say Padilla was subjected to serious mistreatment, including sleep deprivation and threats of execution, while in military detention. US authorities deny their claims.