Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Quit Your Whining, It's Only been Two Years!

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it will allow a U.S.-born man captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and held at a Navy jail to have access to a lawyer, after denying him counsel for two years.

Yaser Esam Hamdi, 22, who is being held in Charleston, South Carolina, and has not been charged, will be given access to a lawyer "as a matter of discretion and military policy" because interrogators have finished collecting intelligence from him, the Defense Department said in a one-page statement.
I'm thinking that even the most incompetent attorney could have decided (in a span of two years) whether or not to charge this young man. On the other hand, it's good to know that interrogators had time to finish their job.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to hear an appeal from the public defender who challenged Hamdi's detention and wanted to act as his lawyer. But it was not immediately known if the attorney, Frank Dunham, would be allowed to visit Hamdi.
Think this has something to do with it? However, given this Court's decisions related to this administration's cases, I can't see why the Pentagon would be concerned.
Unlike some 660 other suspects in the war on terrorism held at the U.S. Navy (news - web sites) Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Hamdi as a U.S. citizen is not eligible for possible trial by a military commission.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that its policy was to permit access to counsel by an enemy combatant who is a U.S. citizen detained by the military in the United States after the Pentagon has determined that such access will not compromise national security once intelligence collection is completed.
Took their sweet time though didn't they?

Dunham last year filed court papers arguing Hamdi was being held illegally and was being denied access to legal representation.

But federal prosecutors at the time strongly opposed that contention and asked for a stay of a judge's order granting the public defender's office immediate and unmonitored access to Hamdi within five days.

They argued that the court lacked the authority to order the access and improperly allowed the public defender to proceed on Hamdi's behalf, when he had no relationship with him. The public defender was brought in by Hamdi's father.
This is the treatment for a U.S. citizen, ostensibly the best treated combatants. Perhaps, the Geneva Convention that our government is always throwing in the faces of our enemies should be revised to include these types of situations. How long can individuals be confined in this manner? 'Til the war on tear terror has ended?


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