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Closing arguments begin in Padilla terror trial

[JURIST] Jurors in the terror trial of Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi [GlobalSecurity profiles] heard closing arguments Monday from federal prosecutors and defense lawyers. Federal prosecutors urged the jury to convict the three on charges [JURIST report] of conspiracy to murder US nationals, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. The three defendants face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted of the most serious counts. Jury deliberations will begin after the completion of closing arguments, which are expected to take two days.

Last week, US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile] barred jurors from considering the "defensive jihad" defense. This was a setback for the defense, which had presented evidence to show that Islam allows the waging of "defensive jihad," which is different from terrorism because it is intended to defend Muslims from aggression and not intended to threaten innocent lives. Padilla, a US citizen, was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and subsequently detained as an "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive] at a Navy military brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Initially accused of planning to set off a "dirty bomb" in the United States, Padilla went from enemy combatant to criminal defendant when he was finally charged with other offenses in November 2005. Padilla was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January 2006 and has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to all charges. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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