[JURIST] Defense lawyers for Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] said in closing arguments Tuesday that the government had failed to prove its case against their client, saying that Padilla had traveled overseas to study Arabic and not to engage in terrorism as argued by prosecutors. Closing arguments began [JURIST report] Monday, with federal prosecutors urging jurors to convict Padilla and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi [GlobalSecurity profiles] on charges [JURIST report] of conspiracy to murder US nationals, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists.
Last week, US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile] barred jurors from considering the "defensive jihad" defense. This was a setback for the defense, which had presented evidence to show that Islam allows the waging of "defensive jihad," which is different from terrorism because it is intended to defend Muslims from aggression and not intended to threaten innocent lives. Padilla, a US citizen, was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and subsequently detained as an "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive] at a Navy military brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Initially accused of planning to set off a "dirty bomb" in the United States, Padilla went from enemy combatant to criminal defendant when he was finally charged with other offenses in November 2005. Padilla was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January 2006 and has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to all charges. AP has more.