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Mos Def Defends Alleged Terrorist Jose Padilla

mos-def2.jpgIn an interview with the Associated Press, Brooklyn rapper Mos Def expresses doubts about the validity and fairness of alleged terrorist Jose Padilla’s trial. “We all know the history of insufficient evidence or testimony under duress — at the very least, legal circumstances that demand some sort of reinvestigation, a new consideration for facts, and just the truth,” he says. “Basically saying these people are not the criminals they’re being made out to be.” According to reports, Padilla was arrested in May 2002 in Chicago’s O’Hare airport after a trip from Pakistan. U.S. officials arrested him on suspicion of plotting a “dirty bomb” attack in America and charged him with conspiracy to “murder, kidnap and maim” people. Padilla was then held as an enemy combatant for more than three years before his case was transferred to a civilian court in Miami in May 2007. Earlier this month, Padilla was found guilty of all the charges after jurors only took a day and a half to convict him. Prosecutors said Padilla traveled to Afghanistan in 1998 to train with al-Qaeda and his fingerprints were found on an al-Qaeda application form. Padilla has denied all the charges and claims he traveled to Egypt to study Arabic and Islam. During the trial, the FBI also played telephone conversations in Arabic between the defendants that, according to the prosecution, featured coded references to terrorist activity. Padilla’s voice, however, was only on seven of the tapes and the FBI testified he did not use any coded language. “[It’s] the climate that we live in,” Mos Def continued to say during his interview. “People’s rights and liberties being taken advantage of — the whole situation with Jose Padilla. Basically the state being able to just charge any individual with anything and prosecute them on the basis of that.” Mos Def went on to say that it’s up to celebrities and people in positions of power to stick up for causes like Jose Padilla’s. “People in key positions as artists, programmers, presidents, chairmen — they’re letting their people down,” he said. “Wake up! If [2Pac] could get killed, then your life means nothing, no matter if you have a 100 cents or 100 million.”

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