[JURIST] Jurors in the terror trial of Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi [GlobalSecurity profiles] began deliberations Wednesday after federal prosecutors and defense lawyers completed closing arguments [JURIST report]. All three defendants are accused [JURIST report] of conspiring to murder US nationals, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. They face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted on the most serious counts.
On Tuesday, Padilla's lawyers argued [JURIST report] during closing that the government had failed to prove its case against Padilla, saying that Padilla had traveled overseas to study Arabic and did not engage in terrorism as argued by prosecutors. Last week, the presiding judge ruled that jurors could not consider the "defensive jihad" defense [JURIST report], which defense lawyers had argued was consistent with Islam and did not 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 the charges. AP has more.