U.S. lawyers slam Guantanamo plan
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is trying to evade responsibility for problems at the Guantanamo Bay prison by falsely blaming defense lawyers for the trouble, the New York City Bar says.
The group’s president leveled the criticism in asking Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to abandon a U.S. Justice Department proposal to limit lawyers’ access to the nearly 400 detainees.
In a court filing this month, the department said attorney access via the mail system has “enabled detainees’ counsel to cause unrest on the base by informing detainees about terrorist attacks.”
The mail system was “misused” to inform detainees about military operations in Iraq, activities of terrorist leaders, efforts in the war on terror, the Hezbollah attack on Israel and abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, the department said in this month’s court filing.
“This is an astonishing and disingenuous assertion,” the association president, Barry M. Kamins, wrote Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Kamins said many detainees have been held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods and have lost hope of a fair hearing to demonstrate their innocence.
“Blaming counsel for the hunger strikes and other unrest is a continuation of a disreputable and unwarranted smear campaign against counsel,” according to the letter Friday.
Read it here.