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Padilla terror trial judge bars 'defensive jihad' defense

[JURIST] US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile] ruled Thursday that jurors in the terror trial of Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi [GlobalSecurity profiles] will not be able to consider the "defensive jihad" defense, agreeing with federal prosecutors that the defendants can be convicted even if they believed that their "conduct was religious, politically, or morally required, or that ultimate good would result." The ruling is a setback for the defense, which had argued that Islam allows "defensive jihad" and that this is different from terrorism because it is intended to defend Muslims from aggression and not intended to threaten innocent lives. Jurors are expected to begin deliberations after closing statements Monday.

Padilla, Hassoun, and Jayyousi are accused [JURIST report] of being a part of an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist support network and conspiring to murder US nationals. 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 the charges. AP has more.

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