The case of Jose Padilla, a terrorism suspect arrested by the FBI at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2002, has ignited a fierce debate over civil liberties.
The pivotal question: Can an American citizen, arrested on U.S. soil, be held incommunicado in a military prison indefinitely — without being charged with a crime, without access to a lawyer?
The Washington Post examines the case in the second of a series of stories about prosecuting terror suspects.
Padilla is accused of having knowledge of an al Qaeda plan to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States. President Bush declared Padilla an enemy combatant, and he was hauled off to a brig in South Carolina.
Amnesty International has condemned Padilla’s treatment as “an unprecedented suspension of fundamental rights of U.S. citizens in U.S. custody.” His attorneys are grappling with a pragmatic question: How do you represent a client you can’t talk to?