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Alleging US torture, terror convict Padilla appeals to Americas’ rights group

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Padilla was convicted and is serving a 17-year prison term in solitary confinement at the maximum security prison in Florence, Colo.

An appeals court overturned his sentence as too lenient and has ordered the trial judge to issue a new sentence. The re-sentencing was set for Nov. 28, but was delayed for two months at the request of defense lawyers who expressed concern about Padilla’s mental health.

A different set of lawyers are pursing the human rights case. They include lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School.

The complaint asks the human rights commission, an arm of the 35-member Organization of American States, to investigate Padilla’s treatment by the military and to declare the US government responsible for violating its obligations under a human rights treaty, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

Those rights include the right to be free from torture and inhuman treatment. The complaint also asks the commission to recommend that the US admit the violations and apologize. It also asks that the US annul its designation of Padilla as an “enemy combatant.”

The central accusation in the petition is that US personnel engaged in torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of Padilla during his nearly four years in custody in the naval brig near Charleston, S.C.

“Given the duration, severity, and calculated nature of the United States’ abuse of Mr. Padilla, there is no question that he was tortured,” the document says.

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