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Law groups to underwrite defense of 'high value' Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers [advocacy websites] announced in a joint statement Thursday that they have teamed up to provide experienced defense attorneys [press release] to defend seven or more specific detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] facing trials before a US Military Commission. The two groups are preparing an $8 million program because they claim the US military has not provided adequate financing to defend the detainees with the military lawyers appointed to them. In addition to their defense, the two groups plan to use information they obtain from the defense proceedings to attack the Bush administration's war crimes system. Col. Steven David, the chief defense lawyer for the Guantanamo cases, welcomed the additional resources, telling the New York Times that the detainees will have the right to accept or refuse the additional counsel.

Among the detainees chosen by the ACLU and Criminal Defense Lawyers is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who has claimed under oath that he masterminded the 9/11 attacks [JURIST report] and is responsible for 29 other terrorist attacks. In February, the US government announced plans to seek the death penalty [JURIST report] for Mohammed and five other Guantanamo detainees accused of involvement in the 9/11 incidents. The New York Times has more.

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