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Guantanamo lawyers decry new military commission rules

[JURIST] Lawyers for the three recently re-charged Guantanamo detainees [JURIST report] renewed their condemnation of new military commission rules [manual, PDF; JURIST report] Thursday, telling the Associated Press that the tight deadlines established by the rules will prevent extended investigation into the reliability of the evidence brought against their clients. Navy lawyer Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift [AOG profile], appointed to defend Yemeni Salim Ahmed Hamdan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive; 2004 charges, PDF] said he has been barred from interviewing any of about 70 government agents who contributed statements expected to be used as evidence against his client. The new rules allow convictions based on hearsay and coerced evidence, while the defense may not present classified evidence unless the government approves its use. Swift deplored the ability of the government to introduce written hearsay statements from interrogators. US Marine Corps Maj. Michael Mori [Wikipedia profile], military lawyer for Australian David Hicks [JURIST news archive; 2004 charges, PDF], criticized the fact that the government has only allowed defense attorneys one and a half weeks to deal with the new rules.

Chief Prosecutor Col. Morris Davis (USAF) [official profile, PDF] announced last week that new charges were being drafted against Hamdan, Hicks, and Canadian Omar Khadr [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive; 2004 charges, PDF], including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorists under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [PDF text; CRS summary; JURIST news archive]. The original charges against the three had to be dropped after the US Supreme Court ruled the original military commissions system established by President Bush to be unconstitutional without Congressional authorization [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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