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US denies Padilla torture allegations

[JURIST] Prosecutors for the US government Monday denied allegations by Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] that he was tortured while in US custody at a Navy detention facility in South Carolina. Padilla claims that he was subjected to multiple means of torture and abuse including sleep deprivation, threats of execution, exposure to noxious fumes, and extreme heat and cold, and was forced to wear a hood and stand in one position for extended periods of time. Lawyers for Padilla also claim that he was given "truth serum" in the form of LSD or PCP. Padilla's lawyers have asked a South Carolina federal court to dismiss [JURIST report] the government's case against him, but federal prosecutors argued that Padilla has no evidence to support his allegations of torture and petitioned the court to allow their case to move forward.

Padilla, a US citizen initially suspected of planning to set off a "dirty bomb" in the US, was finally charged [JURIST report] last year on unrelated terrorism charges after being held for over 1,300 days in US custody. He was labeled an "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive] in 2002, a classification subjecting him to indefinite detention by US authorities. Padilla was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January of this year, when he pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges. His trial is scheduled to begin [JURIST report] January 22. AP has more.

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