ACLU Statement On Justice Department Inquiry Of Military Lawyers At Guantánamo

August 21, 2009 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – The Justice Department is looking into whether three military defense lawyers for detainees in the Guantánamo military commissions showed their clients photographs of CIA interrogators.

The American Civil Liberties Union, partnered with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is working with the under-resourced military lawyers to provide legal counsel for several of the Guantánamo detainees in the military commissions system as part of its John Adams Project.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

“This is nothing more than a misguided effort to shut down the vigorous defense of defendants at the sham Guantánamo proceedings and an attempt to divert the public’s attention from the torture and abuse of detainees by their CIA interrogators.

“It’s ironic that the Justice Department is so concerned about defense attorneys’ use of lawfully obtained photos of CIA interrogators, when they expressed no concern that photos of the architects of the CIA’s torture program were plastered all over the New York Times last week.

“It’s an essential part of defense work to compile lists of individuals who have interacted with defendants. Identifying who may have tortured our clients and under what circumstances is crucial to their defense.

“We are confident that no laws or regulations were broken as we investigated the circumstances of the torture of our clients. The Justice Department should be investigating the government officials who authorized and carried out the torture, not the military lawyers who have exemplified American values of justice by stepping up to defend these clients and fighting for due process in the otherwise broken Guantánamo proceedings. The real scandal isn’t that we’re investigating the torture of our clients, but that the government isn’t.”

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