SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Jose Padilla claims President Bush’s legal adviser John Yoo violated his civil rights by causing him to be “imprisoned as an ‘enemy combatant’ in a military brig, without charge and without ability to defend himself or challenge his conditions of confinement for three years and eight months.” In a federal lawsuit filed Friday, Padilla claims Yoo approved the unconstitutional abuses to which he was subjected – including hooding, sensory deprivation, around-the-clock interrogations and threats of torture – which also violated the Geneva Conventions.
Padilla seeks declaratory judgment, fees, costs and $1 in damages. He is represented Natalie Bridgeman of San Francisco and the National Litigation Project of the Yale Law School.
Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was imprisoned at a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., from June 9, 2002 until Jan. 5, 2006. From there he was transferred to a federal prison in Miami. In Miami Federal Court, he says, he was convicted “on criminal charges unrelated to the allegations that had been used to justify his military detention without charge.”
A federal jury on Aug. 17, 2006 convicted Padilla of conspiring to kill people and to support terrorism. He is scheduled to be sentenced this month.
While he was imprisoned in South Carolina, Padilla says in his federal complaint, “He was subjected to mistreatment including but not limited to extreme and prolonged sleep and sensory deprivation designed to inflict severe mental pain and suffering; exposure to extreme temperatures; interrogation under threat of torture, deportation and even death; denial of access to necessary medical and psychiatric care; and interference with his ability to practice his religion. In the year and a half that Mr. Padilla remained in the brig after he was granted limited access to legal counsel, much of this severe abuse continued.”