The mother of US citizen and convicted terrorist Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Monday filed a complaint [text, PDF; press release] with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) [official website] for torture and unlawful detention. The petition was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] and the Yale Law School Lowenstein International Human Rights Law Clinic [academic website] on behalf of Padilla and his mother, Estella Lebron. Lebron and Padilla have filed federal lawsuits in US courts, but those claims have been dismissed. According to the complaint:
In sum, no U.S. court has ever heard the merits of Mr. Padilla's claims that he was tortured. A court has never determined the "truth or error" or his allegations, much less provided him with a remedy. All three of the elements required by the Commission to satisfy an Article XVIII right to a remedy have been denied to Mr. Padilla: 1) he was denied access to a court or tribunal for years, 2) no court or tribunal has heard his case on the merits, and 3) no adequate remedy has been given. In sum, though Mr. Padilla had the right to file a civil suit in the United States, his right to a remedy proved to be "illusory" because, like other claimants before him, his cases were erroneously dismissed on national security grounds.The petition requests that the IACHR conduct a full investigation into the alleged human rights violations, to find that Padilla's treatment violated the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man [text], and to recommend that the US publicly acknowledge the violations and apologize for its conduct.
In June the US Supreme Court declined to accept Padilla's appeal challenging the dismissal [JURIST report] of his lawsuit against US officials for allegedly illegally detaining him at a military jail in South Carolina. Padilla was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and thereafter detained as an enemy combatant. He was convicted on terrorism charges in 2007 and sentenced [JURIST reports] to 17 years in prison. In September 2011 the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Padilla's sentence was too lenient and ordered a new sentencing hearing [JURIST report]. The court noted Padilla's 17 prior arrests and objected to a reduction of his sentence for the three-and-a-half years he was detained as an "enemy combatant" on a base in South Carolina before charges were brought against him.