U.S. Stymies Detainee Access Despite Ruling, Lawyers Say

More than three months after the Supreme Court declared that hundreds of detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts, none has appeared in a courtroom. Of the 68 alleged al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who have so far petitioned for access to federal court in Washington, only a handful have even spoken to their lawyers. With some held for nearly three years on the U.S. Navy base, the detainees remain largely precluded from receiving legal help because of protracted negotiations with the Justice Department over lawyers’ security clearances, the government’s insistence on monitoring attorney-client conversations and the number of visits lawyers will be allowed, defense attorneys told a U.S. District Court judge yesterday. Less than half the detainees with lawyers have been given the government’s reason for holding them; the government has broken a court-ordered Sept. 30 deadline to justify most of those detentions, the lawyers said. For the 28 detainees who have been informed, the reason is typically that a recent military review — conducted without an attorney or witnesses — has concluded that they are enemy combatants with links to the Taliban or al Qaeda. Full Story

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