Gavel Grab

New Limits on Access to Detainees are Blocked

The federal government may not restrict lawyers access to Guantanamo Bay detainees who are not challenging their incarceration, a federal judge has ruled.

Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a “scathing” opinion, according to a New York Times article, that accused the Obama administration of “an illegitimate exercise of executive power.”

“Access to the courts means nothing without access to counsel,” Judge Lamberth wrote, according to a Washington Post report.

For Guantanamo detainees who failed in their challenges to their confinement, the new rules have required their lawyers to sign a “memorandum of understanding” to keep meeting with the detainee clients. In addition, these meetings were “subject to the authority and discretion” of the commanding officer for Guantanamo Bay (see Gavel Grab).

David Remes, a lawyer for detainees, praised the ruling and said the planned new rules were “egregious, because it would have removed the courts from the equation and left the Gitmo commander a law unto himself.”

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