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US military judge rules Hamdan lawyers can question top terror suspects

[JURIST] US military judge Navy Capt. Keith Allred has ruled that lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] can send written questions to Khalid Sheik Mohammed [BBC profile] and other alleged high-level al Qaeda detainees. Hamdan's lawyers hope that the interviewed detainees will testify that Hamdan was not involved with the USS Cole or 9/11 attacks and thus should not be charged with conspiracy, but Department of Defense prosecutors say that the charges against Hamdan [PDF text; JURIST report] do not require him to have been directly involved with those attacks.

In a motion [PDF text] filed last month, Hamdan's lawyers requested face-to-face interviews, but in the ruling made public Thursday, Allred limited the discovery to written questions, which must be reviewed by an independent security officer. Any answers will be censored according to national security concerns. Earlier this month, Hamdan's lawyers urged Allred to drop the charges [JURIST report] against Hamdan. In December, Allred denied [JURIST report] a request by Hamdan's lawyers for immediate access to top terrorism suspects, citing security concerns. The Miami Herald has more.

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