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Jose Padilla Alleges Witness Statements Obtained Through Torture


Lawyers for Jose Padilla have filed a motion to suppress evidence and statements in his federal terrorism case. He alleges that the FBI failed to advise the Court in its 2002 affidavit for his arrest as a material witness that statements taken from one of the government's witnesses was obtained through torture, and another witness provided statements while "heavily medicated."

The evidence being challenged includes a cell phone allegedly provided to Padilla by another al-Qaida operative, an address book containing names of his alleged al-Qaida recruiter and sponsor, and more than $10,000 in cash.

In court papers, Patel does not accuse the FBI or other U.S. interrogators of engaging in torture. He argues that agent's failure to detail the torture allegations before Padilla's arrest invalidate the evidence seized from him.

That may be, but Patel does allege some of the torture occurred immediately before and after Pakistani jailers brought one of the witnesses to an FBI agent to be interviewed about Padilla.

One of the witnesses, Binyam Ahmed Muhammad, was held at Guantanamo. The other, Abu Zubayda, is being held in a secret overseas location.

Patel said Muhammad has told his own lawyer that he was whipped, hung from the ceiling of his cell with leather straps and later taken to Morocco where he was tortured with a razor. Patel said Zubayda was treated after his arrest for gunshot wounds, raising questions about "the effect the medications may have had on Abu Zubayda's ability to provide accurate information."

I have just reviewed the defense motion, here is the exact quote:

Binyam Muhammad has informed his attorney that after his arrest in Karachi, Pakistan, he was held in prison where he was hung from the ceiling of his cell with leather straps . Binyam Muhammad was whipped by his Pakistani jailers but they asked him no questions as they had no common language . Binyam Muhammad reports to his counsel that he was questioned by four agents who he believes were FBI agents . He was whipped by the jailers before and after being questioned by the FBI agent who asked him questions about Mr. Padilla. Binyam Muhammad was later flown to Morocco where he was further questioned about Mr. Padilla and tortured by means of a razor being used to make incisions on his chest and his genitals .

The defense alleges these two witnesses were the Government's only sources for the arrest warrant.

It is respectfully submitted that the use of information obtained by torture, whether the torture is disclosed or undisclosed, is an act so unlawful and so contrary to the core values of this Nation as to both shock the conscience and render any search based on such information unreasonable. It is respectfully requested that this Court should hold a hearing so that the circumstances of the interrogation of both Abu Zubayda and Binyam Muhamma can be fully established. At the conclusion of such a hearing it is respectfully submitted that the Court will enter an Order suppressing all evidence seized from Mr . Padilla at the time of his arrest in Chicago .

The items Padilla is seeking to suppress were seized from him at Chicago's O'Hare airport on May 8, 2002 when he was arrested on a material witness warrant as he disembarked a plane from Switzerland.

In other recent Padilla case news, the defense is seeking access to 64 hours of videotaped statements he gave while in the S.C. brig. The Government has designated them as classified, and while Padilla's lawyers have the appropriate security clearance to view them, Padilla does not. So they can't discuss Padilla's own statements with him.

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  • Re: Jose Padilla Alleges Witness Statements Obtain (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 06:01:39 PM EST
    and while Padilla's lawyers have the appropriate security clearance to view them, Padilla does not. So they can't discuss Padilla's own statements with him.
    That is really sick and twisted. So it would follow that if Padilla discusses any of this with anyone he could be tried for leaking state secrets. Kafka has been outdone.

    The Guardian published extracts from Binyam Muhammad diary last year, relating to his torture. You can read it here. According to it, US personnel photographed his injuries when transferring him around on the torture plane. He also claims that he told his torturers whatever he thought they wanted to hear in an effort to get them to stop cutting his penis with razors. So much for "reliable" evidence...