Jose Padilla’s Sentence Strews Displeasure Across Political Divide

January 25, 2008 06:30 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
U.S.-born terrorist conspirator Jose Padilla was sentenced to more than 17 years. To some, that was too much; to others life would have been just.

30-Second Summary

Jose Padilla was sentenced to 17 years and 4 months in prison on terror conspiracy charges on Tuesday.

Padilla was initially arrested on charges of plotting to explode a “dirty bomb,” an explosive device designed to spread radioactive waste.  He was held in military detention in the United States for three and a half years.

In 2006, his case was transferred to a civilian court just as the Supreme Court was preparing to assess whether his detention was constitutional.

Padilla was eventually convicted of plotting to kill foreign citizens and aiding terrorism.

Prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for Padilla and his two co-defendants. The Justice Department also recommended a maximum sentence.

The sentencing judge, however, said she was compelled to take into account the harsh treatment Padilla endured in military detention.   

U.S. media reported that the sentence was lenient given what the government had demanded. The BBC, on the other hand, ran an article with the headline “Padilla given long jail sentence.”

Padilla’s case has stirred a lot of debate, with few commentators saying that justice has been carried out. 

Some reacted on the grounds that a terrorist should not enjoy the benefits of the U.S. justice system.

Blogger Andy Worthington writes on AlterNet that Jose Padilla’s sentence is outrageous, as it punishes someone who has not harmed or killed U.S. or foreign citizens.

Other commentators objected to the Bush administration’s handling of terror suspects in general. 

Blogger Shaun Mullen called the Padilla case “the ultimate wake-up call to the true character of the Bush administration: imprisoning one of its own citizens on U.S. soil with no charges of any kind and then keeping him for years incommunicado.”

Headline links: The Padilla sentence: lenient or long?

Opinion & Analysis: Padilla’s sentence; torture charges; justice system

The sentence was just
Miscarriage of justice
Torture charges need to be addressed
Should terror suspects be prosecuted by civilian courts?

Reference Material: Jose Padilla


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