DOJ withdraws proposed Guantanamo lawyer visit restriction

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] Friday withdrew one of its proposals for tightened restrictions [proposed protective order, PDF] on contact between lawyers and their clients at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] outlined [JURIST report] in an earlier DOJ filing with the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Backtracking on a three-visit cap between detainees [JURIST news archive] and their lawyers, DOJ lawyers said they continue to endorse other proposed restrictions including allowing lawyers to visit a detainee only once in order to obtain authorization for legal representation and subjecting mail sent to detainees by their lawyers to review by intelligence officers and military lawyers not involved in the prosecution of a particular detainee's case.

The controversial attorney-client restriction proposals drafted late late summer after the first Guantanamo suicides were advanced in the case involving Afghan detainee Haji Bismullah [Wikipedia profile]. The DOJ proposal [motion, PDF; brief, PDF] drew immediate criticism from lawyers representing detainees and from the American Bar Association [JURIST report]. Last week, Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, said he supports so-called "habeas visits" of lawyers with detainees at the facility and no longer considers the proposed visit restrictions necessary [JURIST report]. The US DC Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] has scheduled arguments for Tuesday in Bismullah's case. The New York Times has more.



 

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