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Jose Padilla, Fort Lauderdale-Based Terrorist, Gets 21-Year Sentence

Jose Padilla, the Fort Lauderdale-based jihadist who was convicted in 2007 on charges of supporting Al Qaeda and terrorism conspiracy, was handed a new 21-year prison sentence.

The ruling came on Tuesday from an appeals court that deemed Padillia's original 17-year sentence was too lenient.

His lawyer argued during the hearing on Tuesday that Padilla, 43, has become depressed after being subjected to interrogation, torture and isolation during the last 12 years of being incarcerated in a military detention.

According to Broward County court records, Padilla changed his name to "Ibrahim" in 1994. He also frequented a Fort Lauderdale mosque with fellow conspirator and convicted terrorist, Adham Hassoun.

Hassoun is currently serving 15 years.

Padilla, an al Qaeda recruit, was arrested in 2002 and accused of plotting to set off a so-called "dirty bomb" somewhere in the United States. In 2007, he was named the first U.S. citizen enemy combatant and convicted on charges of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people abroad, conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism and providing material support for terrorism.

President George W. Bush then ordered Padilla to be held and nterrogated in a South Carolina military prison. Padilla has been held at the Miami Federal Detention since 2012.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke had originally given Padilla the 17 and a half prison sentence. But, in 2011, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed that Padilla deserved a longer sentence due to his history of being a Chicago gang member, as well as his "heightened risk of dangerousness" thanks to to his connection and training with al Qaeda.

Prosecutors asked for 30 years, while his defense argued for 21 years.

The re-sentencing had been delayed several times by Judge Cooke as Padilla's attorneys argued that he was tortured by his interrogators, including being given LSD, forced to stand in physically stressful position, sleep deprivation, and subjected to extreme heat, and loud noises. The U.S. government has denied these accusations.

Under his new sentence, U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke ordered Padilla remain in a super-maximum security prison.

His re-sentencing has been delayed many times by Cooke as lawyers wrangled over his long criminal history and shared thousands of pages of classified documents.

Judge Cooke added Padilla's 3 and a half years of time-served in a South Carolina Naval brig to the new sentence.

Overall, the new sentence amounts to an extra four years.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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