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11 March 2003

USA

Amnesty International Statement on Judge's Decision in Jose Padilla Case

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USA
Amnesty International today welcomed the decision to allow US citizen Jose Padilla to meet with his lawyers, but said it represented the smallest step forward for justice in this case and others in the war on terrorism.

"While today's decision represents a welcome small victory for basic rights, it is long-overdue," said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. "The US Constitution grants all citizens basic rights, including the right to an attorney, to know the charges against them, and to a speedy and public trial. Government action in this case has violated the protections found in US law and ignored US obligations under international law.

"Any kid who watches police dramas knows that all suspects have the right to an attorney. It should not have taken ten months and multiple court appearances for an individual in US custody to be granted permission to speak with his lawyer. Suspects' fundamental rights, such as being informed of charges against them and meeting with an attorney, undergird the US justice system and should not be relegated as optional, even in the interests of national security."




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Amnesty International

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