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Feds Say Bomb Suspect Is Combatant

November 2, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A man accused of conspiring to detonate a so-called dirty bomb has no right to a lawyer or the courts because he is rightfully held as an enemy combatant, the government argued in court papers submitted Friday.

``Neither the Constitution nor the laws of war confer a right to counsel to an enemy combatant to challenge the fact of his wartime detention,″ prosecutors said in written arguments.

Prosecutors say they have no obligation to let defense lawyers see a classified document describing Jose Padilla’s contacts with al-Qaida leaders.

Defense lawyer Donna Newman said Thursday that the government was violating Padilla’s constitutional rights by holding him without charges.

There was no indication when a judge might rule on the matter.

The former Chicago gang member was arrested May 8 and secretly held in a federal jail on a material witness warrant. The government said he twice met with senior al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan in March and discussed a plot to detonate a radiological weapon in the United States.

On June 9, President Bush decided that Padilla was an enemy combatant and should be transferred to the control of the U.S. military.

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