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Lawyers Claim US Government Mistreatment of Padilla


Lawyers for American terror suspect Jose Padilla are alleging that the U.S. government's treatment of their client amounts to torture.

They have filed documents in a Miami federal court seeking to have his terrorism case dismissed. The lawyers say extended torture has altered Padilla in a way that impinges on his ability to defend himself during his trial.

The government has denied that Padilla was tortured. It says the conditions of confinement were humane and designed to ensure the suspect's safety.

In the latest court documents, the defense lawyers included images of Padilla during his three-and-a-half years detention at a Navy brig in South Carolina.

The images show Padilla being led from his cell by guards. He is shackled, wearing blacked-out goggles and noise-blocking headphones.

Padilla, a convert to Islam, was transferred to civilian custody in January to face charges of belonging to a terrorist cell. He has pleaded not guilty.

Padilla was arrested in Chicago in 2002 and designated an enemy combatant. He was held without charge for an alleged al-Qaida plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty" bomb in the United States. His indictment does not mention that allegation.

Padilla's lawyers say his alleged mistreatment included sleep deprivation and the use of stress positions, and they say he was given a drug to act as a truth serum.

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