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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Court Orders Jose Padilla be Released in Next 30 Days
Aired December 18, 2003 - 11:03 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Getting some breaking news, and it concerns on the war on terrorism and the man who is the suspect in the dirty bomb case, Jose Padilla. A court ordering that Padilla be released from custody within the next 30 days.
With more on that, our Deb Feyerick is standing by -- Deb.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, this was the second circuit court of appeal. They voted 2-3, saying that the government must release Jose Padilla within 30 days. He had been labeled an enemy combatant by the president. He had been held in a military prison for 18 months. His lawyer said President Bush had sidestepped the courts by using military rule to hold him without giving him access to any sort of a lawyer. He has not been able to see any family, any friends since he was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, allegedly for being part of a dirty bomb plot.
This went all the way to the appeals court here in New York, the Second Circuit. They voted 2-1, saying that he must be allowed to see the lawyer. During the hearing which took place a couple of weeks ago, one of the judges said that he was astonished that the government would be asking essentially for a complete rewriting of the law, which basically they wanted -- they were saying that immediately after 9/11, Congress passed an act, giving the president powers to go after terrorists, and holding people in this way is one of those powers. But these judges said, no, that's not the case.
A lawyer for Jose Padilla said that it is reassuring that constitutional protections that we're all entitled to as citizens were confirmed. That, according to Jose Padilla's lawyer. He should be able to meet with her in the next 30 days. There's a big question, he may not even know that in fact he has a lawyer. That's how incommunicado he been kept.
I've just been handed one thing, Daryn, and let me read that. The government can transfer Padilla to an appropriate civilian authority who can bring criminal charges against him. That is what the order has said. That is the latest -- Daryn.
KAGAN: So it is possible he won't walk out in custody, he'll just walk out of this military prison, where he's being held as an enemy combatant?
FEYERICK: That's exactly right, and he would be charged as an ordinary citizen, basically, with criminal charges. And that was one thing his lawyer said, charge him or let him go. The government had never charged him. KAGAN: In that case, he would be able to meet with his lawyer and have the regular rights that a defendant would have.
Deborah Feyerick, thank you for that. We will track that throughout the day.
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