Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Judge to Bush: Charge Padilla or Release Him

A federal judge in South Carolina has told the Bush administration they have 45 days to charge Jose Padilla with a crime, or release him. Padilla, who was arrested in May 2002 at O'Hare Airport in Chicago on suspicion of helping to build a radioactive "dirty bomb," has been held without charges for 2 1/2 years; for two years he did not have access to an attorney.

The Department of Justice has said it will appeal the decision. Which is odd, when you think about it. On the same day that the U.S. government released a report on human rights that criticized countries like Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan for arbitrary arrests and detentions (among other abuses), that same U.S. government vowed to appeal a ruling that an American citizen cannot be arbitrarily arrested and detained indefinitely without charges or access to an attorney. Obviously we have a lot of repair work to do on our own house before we point out the weaknesses in the construction of other people's homes.

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