A federal court in Miami has added four years to a sentence handed down in 2007 on Jose Padilla, who was convicted on charges of conspiracy and supporting al-Qaida.
The Associated Press says: “The new sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, who originally gave Padilla more than 17 years in prison. She also previously gave Padilla, a U.S. citizen and Muslim convert, credit for the more than three years he was held without charge as an enemy combatant at a South Carolina Navy brig.”
According to the AP: “The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2011 determined that Cooke erred in giving Padilla credit for the brig years and also failed to properly account for his ‘heightened risk of dangerousness’ due to training at an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan. In addition, the appeals judges ruled that Padilla – a former Chicago ‘Latin Kings’ gang member – deserved a longer sentence because of his numerous previous arrests.”
Padilla, 43, was arrested in 2002 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after authorities said he was on an al-Qaida mission to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb in a major U.S. city. Although the alleged plot was later found to be sketchy, at best, the government contends that Padilla, a Muslim convert, and his co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, were part of a cell in South Florida that supported terrorist groups in Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.
“After the sentencing, Padilla’s mother said she hopes that she will still be alive when her son gets out of prison, possibly around 2025 or 2026.
“Prosecutors said that Padilla deserved a tougher sentence than his two co-defendants — who are both scheduled for release from prison in three years — because of his prior criminal record and because he traveled to Afghanistan for “terrorist training” in an al-Qaida camp.”