Friday, April 10, 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Lawyers and judges working on Guantanamo Bay legal cases are showing signs of exasperation at President Barack Obama’s administration, which they accuse of slowing federal judicial procedures for detainees.
Two federal judges tasked with examining cases by five Guantanamo prisoners contesting their detention — a right to habeas corpus granted by the Supreme Court in June 2008 — have made a rare public row of their impatience with government prosecutors.
“Respondent’s counsel violated all three orders,” Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in an unusually harshly worded court document seen Wednesday.
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Kollar-Kotelly was referring to an earlier decision that a government lawyer should be removed from the case of four Kuwaitis held at the US military prison in southern Cuba because the attorney repeatedly missed deadlines.
The lawyer’s “compliance was not optional,” she wrote, adding that the court “has serious concern about counsel’s ability to read and comprehend its orders.”
Another federal lawyer, Emmet Sullivan, expressed outrage at a hearing last week over prosecutors’ delay in providing unclassified documents to the defense in a Yemeni detainee’s case.
“To hide — and I don’t use that word loosely — to hide relevant and exculpatory evidence from counsel and from the court under any circumstance … is fundamentally unjust, outrageous and will not be tolerated,” he said, threatening to sanction the government.
Full story here.