Lawyers for two Guantanamo prisoners accused of planning the 9/11 attacks [JURIST backgrounders] asked the Pentagon Thursday to extend the filing deadline for pre-trial motions. There are currently two prisoners requesting extension, and they both cite the recent mail review controversy as to why they have been unable to meet the current deadline. Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, the lawyer appointed to represent Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsaw,i claims that the new restrictions on legal mail between attorneys and their clients prevented Ruiz from meeting the deadline. The attorneys for Ramzi Binalshibh andal-Hawsawi are both asking for extensions [Miami Herald report]. Binalshibh is asking for a six-month extension, and al-Hawasawi is asking for a four-month extension.
In January, Chief Defense Counsel for Guantanamo war crimes tribunals, Colonel J.P. Colwell, ordered attorneys under his command not to comply with rules [JURIST report] requiring military officials to review all legal correspondence between lawyers and the detainees accused of involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks. Navy rear Adm. David Woods [official profile] issued the new rule in December. Lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo have previously raised concerns with practices used at the prison. Last November, lawyers complained specifically about the infringement on attorney-client privilege [JURIST report] in a letter directed to the attention of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs.