A federal appeals court has reinstated a key terrorism charge in the case against alleged Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla, restoring the only count that carries a potential life sentence.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed with federal prosecutors in Miami that the charge that Padilla and others conspired to "murder, kidnap and maim" people overseas did not duplicate other counts in the same indictment.

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The decision reverses a federal district judge's ruling last summer dismissing the charge for that reason. Defense attorneys have the right to appeal the new decision.