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The Event Horizon Returns...

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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April 26, 2007

Little slow on the uptake this morning. The New York Times has this front-pager on efforts filed in the DC Circuit by the DOJ to limit lawyers’ access to detainees at Guantanamo, which, the DOJ claims, has sowed unrest and security problems on the base.The DOJ proposal seems awful draconian:

Under the proposal, filed this month in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the government would limit lawyers to three visits with an existing client at Guantánamo; there is now no limit. It would permit only a single visit with a detainee to have him authorize a lawyer to handle his case. And it would permit a team of intelligence officers and military lawyers not involved in a detainee’s case to read mail sent to him by his lawyer.The proposal would also reverse existing rules to permit government officials, on their own, to deny the lawyers access to secret evidence used by military panels to determine that their clients were enemy combatants.

But here’s the best part. The lead argument in the government’s brief, which the Times describes as “combative,” is that Gitmo, as a legal black hole, confers no right on detainees to access counsel. Here’s the pull-out:

“There is no right on the part of counsel to access to detained aliens on a secure military base in a foreign country,” the Justice Department filing argued.

The DOJ request will be the subject of a hearing on May 15.Also pay close attention to how the proposal will breach the attorney-client privilege. I’ll follow up with more today on the backstory to this breaking story.