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Federal judge calls for speedy Guantanamo habeas appeals

[JURIST] The chief judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [court website] said Tuesday that the US government should make detention appeals by Guantanamo detainees a top priority, and devote all necessary resources to ensuring that the appeals reach trial in a timely manner. Judge Thomas F. Hogan [official profile] made the comments at the first hearing concerning coordination issues for the habeas corpus [JURIST news archive] appeals of several terrorism detainees now being held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Hogan will be establishing deadlines for the government to turn over evidence on the detainees to their lawyers, and told the Department of Justice [official website] to put other cases on hold while complying with these requests. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

Last week, the court chose Judge Hogan [JURIST report] to preside over the habeas appeals, and Hogan will rule on procedural issues common to all cases. In June, Chief Justice Royce Lamberth of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit held an off-the-record meeting [JURIST report] with defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees, reportedly discussing how the prisoners' civil court challenges to their detentions might be affected by the US Supreme Court's ruling in Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF; JURIST report]. In that decision the Supreme Court held that federal courts have jurisdiction to review habeas corpus petitions filed by Guantanamo detainees who have been classified as "enemy combatants."

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