[JURIST] Reporters will not be allowed to attend hearings [JURIST report] that will determine if the 14 "high-value" terror suspects [DNI profiles, PDF] who were transferred to Guantanamo Bay from secret CIA prisons [JURIST report] last September are "enemy combatants," Defense Department officials announced [AFPS report] Tuesday. This will be the first time that Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD materials] hearings, which play a role in determining whether detainees are eligible for trial by military commission [JURIST news archive], will be closed to media coverage. While the material presented during the hearing will be unclassified, a Defense Department spokesmen cited security concerns that the detainees could reveal information about US activities during their testimony. Following the hearings, the DOD will release transcripts that are edited to remove information found to be damaging to national security. The department is reconsidering its current plan to withhold the name of the detainee from the hearing transcript.
The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights [advocacy website], which represents one of the 14 detainees, Majid Kahn, denounced the DOD for closing the hearings, claiming that Kahn has been denied access to a lawyer since October for the purpose of keeping quiet his allegations of torture and abuse. The center told the AP that such actions could be expected "in Libya or China, but not America." The DOD said that all claims of mistreatment are investigated. AP has more.