Appeals court hears case of 'enemy combatant'

October 26, 2011 - 5:05 PM
Padilla Terror Charges

Estela Lebron, left, mother of Jose Padilla, leaves court after a hearing before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Padilla is seeking the reinstatement of a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Lawyers for a U.S. citizen who was detained nearly four years as an "enemy combatant" asked an appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials.

Jose Padilla's attorneys argued Wednesday that the officials should be held accountable for their part in his illegal detention and torture in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. He sued them in 2007 but a federal court dismissed the lawsuit in February.

The defendants' lawyers told a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Padilla isn't entitled to sue because doing so would improperly allow the courts to interfere in national security matters.

Padilla was arrested in 2002 on a terrorism-related charge, which was later dropped. He is serving 17 years in another case.