Alleged al Qaeda agent Padilla claims torture

MIAMI – Lawyers for alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla have asked a Florida judge to dismiss the terrorism case against him, saying he was tortured and force-fed psychedelic drugs while held at a U.S. military brig for more than 3-1/2 years.

“The torture took myriad forms, each designed to cause pain, anguish, depression and ultimately, the loss of will to live,” Padilla’s attorney’s said in the motion for dismissal filed in Miami federal court earlier this month.

“Often he had to endure multiple interrogators who would scream, shake and otherwise assault Mr. Padilla,” his lawyers said. “Additionally, Mr. Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations.”

Presiding U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke on Monday gave the U.S. attorney’s office until November 14 by to respond to Padilla’s allegations, according to an order released by the court.

Padilla, a U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago in May 2002, was initially accused of plotting to set off a radioactive “dirty bomb.”

He was held in a brig at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, South Carolina for three years and seven months, without charge, before being abruptly transferred to a federal lock-up in Miami and brought into the official legal system.

While in the brig, Padilla was “tortured by the United States government without cause or justification,” his lawyers said, adding that his treatment was “shocking to even the most hardened conscience.”

The forms of torture included isolation, prolonged sleep deprivation, exposure to extremely cold temperatures and shackling in “stress positions” for hours at a time, they said.

Human rights advocates have made similar allegations on behalf of suspects held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba..