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US Judge Extends Sentence for Convicted al-Qaida Plotter

  • VOA News

FILE - Jose Padilla (C) is escorted to a waiting police vehicle by federal marshals near downtown Miami.

FILE - Jose Padilla (C) is escorted to a waiting police vehicle by federal marshals near downtown Miami.

A U.S. man convicted of supporting al-Qaida will serve an additional four years in prison after a U.S. federal judge in Miami on Tuesday ruled the initial 17-year sentence was "too lenient."

Jose Padilla, the first U.S. citizen labeled an enemy combatant, was convicted in the southern U.S. state of Florida in 2007 of providing material support to terrorists and collaborating with the transnational terrorist network.

Padilla, now 43, was arrested in 2002 at a U.S. airport after returning from what prosecutors called an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. He was accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city, but was never charged with that. A jury found him guilty on charges of supporting al-Qaida and terrorism conspiracy.

He initially was given credit for time served in a military prison in the U.S. after being deemed an "enemy combatant." Tuesday's ruling revokes that credit.

Federal prosecutors agreed not to seek more than 30 years in prison for Padilla as long as his lawyers did not introduce records related to alleged harsh conditions he endured during the three-and-one-half years spent in a South Carolina military prison.

Padilla sat shackled in a khaki jumpsuit and did not speak during the two-hour hearing. Under his new sentence, Cooke also ordered Padilla remain held in a super-maximum security prison.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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