Wednesday, March 12, 2003

'Dirty bomb' suspect to get lawyer

A Judge has ruled that Jose Padilla, the US citizen accused of plotting to build and detonate a "dirty bomb", will finally be allowed to see a lawyer. The US government had designated him an "enemy combatant", denied him access to counsel or the courts, and imprisoned him in a military prison. If this isn't appealed, then it represents some return to sanity in the US - an acknowledgement that September 11th did not erase those parts of the Constitution dealing with the right to a fair trial (at least for US citizens).

Unfortunately, the US government can still listen in on Padilla's discussions with his lawyer. And if they think that his representative is too effective, they can always charge them with aiding and abetting a terrorist. There's still a long way to go before things will be "back to normal" over there.

Update: Unfortunately the news isn't so good for the detainees at Guantanamo - a court has ruled that they cannot access US courts and are not protected by the US Constitution. Whatever happened to "we hold these truths to be self-evident... that all men are created equal"?