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17-Year Terror Sentence Too Lenient for Jose Padilla, Court Says

  • MIAMI - JANUARY 05:  An SUV (R)  carrying suspected accused terrorist Jose Padilla arrives at federal court January 5, 2006 in Miami, Florida. Padilla, the alleged al-Qaida operative held in a military brig for three years as an "enemy combatant but without being charged, will stand trial in civilian court after a Supreme Court decision allowing the transfer.  (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

    MIAMI - JANUARY 05: An SUV (R) carrying suspected accused terrorist Jose Padilla arrives at federal court January 5, 2006 in Miami, Florida. Padilla, the alleged al-Qaida operative held in a military brig for three years as an "enemy combatant but without being charged, will stand trial in civilian court after a Supreme Court decision allowing the transfer. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)  (2006 Getty Images)

  • MIAMI - JANUARY 05:  Federal law enforcement officers stand guard as Jose Padilla arrives at federal court January 5, 2006 in Miami, Florida. Padilla, the alleged al-Qaida operative held in a military brig for three years as an "enemy combatant but without being charged, will stand trial in civilian court after a Supreme Court decision allowing the transfer.  (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

    MIAMI - JANUARY 05: Federal law enforcement officers stand guard as Jose Padilla arrives at federal court January 5, 2006 in Miami, Florida. Padilla, the alleged al-Qaida operative held in a military brig for three years as an "enemy combatant but without being charged, will stand trial in civilian court after a Supreme Court decision allowing the transfer. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)  (2006 Getty Images)

A federal appeals court has thrown out the 17-year prison sentence imposed on convicted terrorism plotter Jose Padilla, who prosecutors have called a "star recruit" for al-Qaeda, because the court ruled Padilla should have received a longer sentence.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the sentence imposed by a Miami federal judge was too lenient. The appeals court sent the case back for a new sentencing hearing.

Padilla and two co-conspirators were convicted in 2007 after a three-month trial in which prosecutors said they sent money, recruits and supplies to Islamic extremist groups including al-Qaida. The appeals ruling upheld all the convictions.

Padilla was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on suspicion of plotting to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb." He was held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant without a criminal charge.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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