This Space for Rent

A shining beacon of liberty. Not.

In an effort to gain Mr. Padilla’s “dependency and trust,” he was tortured for nearly the entire three years and eight months of his unlawful detention. The torture took myriad forms, each designed to cause pain, anguish, depression, and, ultimately, the lost of will to live. The base ingredient in Mr. Padilla’s torture was stark isolation for a substantial portion of his captivity. For nearly two years – from June 9, 2002 until March 2, 2004, when the Department of Defense permitted Mr. Padilla to have contact with his lawyers – Mr. Padilla was in complete isolation. Even after he was permitted contact with counsel, his conditions of confinement remained essentially the same. He was kept in a unit comprising sixteen individual cells, eight on the upper level and eight on the lower level where Mr. Padilla’s cell was located. No other calls in the unit were occupied. His cell was electronically monitored twenty-four hours a day, eliminating the need for a guard to patrol his unit. His only contact with another person was when a guard would deliver and retrieve trays of food and when the government desired to interrogate him.

His isolation, furthermore, was aggravated by the efforts of his captors to maintain complete sensory deprivation. His tiny cell – nine feet by seven feet – had no view to the outside world. The door to his cell had a window, however it was covered by a magnetic sticker, depriving Mr. Padilla of even a view into the hallway and adjacent common areas of his unit. He was not given a clock or a watch and for most of the time of his captivity, he was unaware whether it was day or night, or what time of year or day it was.

From United States of America vs. Jose Padilla (motion to dismiss…)

Michael Froomkin helpfully points out that Jose Padilla is a US citizen, that he was arrested in the United States, and at the time of these abuses he had not been charged with any crime.

Mr. Padilla’s lawyers helpfully quote part of 18 U.S.C. § 2340, which is one of those apparently-useless regulations that criminalizes torture. Torture is defined as:

  1. “torture” means an act committed by a person or acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

  2. “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from-

    • the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
    • the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
    • the threat on imminent death; or
    • the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mindaltering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

Remember that Mr. Padilla is a US citizen. Remember that he was arrested in the United States. Remember that at the time of the alleged abuses he had not been charged with any crime.

(link to the “motion to dismiss…” via Michael Froomkin)


Thanks for posting this. I’ve been too disturbed about it to know where to start.

L-girl Thu Dec 7 12:05:11 2006

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