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In Padilla case, no life sentence

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The judge stressed that Padilla's sentence and those handed down for two codefendants would serve as a warning to others that support for violent activities overseas "will not be tolerated."

Despite Padilla's lower prison sentence, the three convictions in the case mark an important victory for US government officials working to stanch the flow of money and other support from America to various terror groups operating overseas, legal analysts say.

It puts individuals who may be sympathetic to Al Qaeda or other violent overseas groups on notice that the government will take aggressive action against those perceived to be helping America's armed enemies abroad.

But the Padilla case also represents a threat to civil liberties, according to defense lawyers and other analysts. If upheld on appeal, the case against Padilla and his two codefendants could empower federal prosecutors in the future to target outspoken American Muslims for their political advocacy in support of militant efforts in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

"The government has not made America any safer. It has just made America less free," William Swor, attorney for co-defendant Kifah Jayyousi, told the Associated Press.

Padilla, Mr. Jayyousi, and Adham Hassoun were convicted in August of participating in a US-based support cell for what prosecutors characterized as a wide-ranging militant Muslim conspiracy to wage religiously motivated terrorism in troubled areas around the world.

Mr. Hassoun and Jayyousi were found guilty of providing money, equipment, recruits, or other support to Muslim groups operating in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Lebanon, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Padilla was identified in the conspiracy as a recruit who attended the training camp.

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