[JURIST] US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile] Tuesday refused to rule out the possibility of a life sentence for convicted terrorism conspirator Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive]. Cooke found that the enhanced terrorism penalties could be applied, rejecting the defense's argument that evidence linking Padilla and his co-conspirators to actual terrorist groups was insufficient for federal terrorism standards to be applied. Tuesday's ruling is part of a sentencing hearing that is set to continue through Friday; there has been no indication of when sentences will be handed down.
Padilla was convicted in August, along with Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifadh Wael Jayyousi [profiles], of conspiracy to commit illegal violent acts outside the US, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. 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 alleged to have planned the explosion of 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. AP has more.