Bruce MacDonald, the senior Pentagon official overseeing war crimes tribunals at Guantanamo [JURIST backgrounder], on Friday denied a request to extend the filing deadline for pre-trial motions [JURIST report] for prisoners accused of planning the 9/11 attacks [JURIST backgrounder]. The prisoners' lawyers stated that they needed the extension because of delays in getting security clearance [AP report] and new restrictions on legal mail between the attorneys and their clients. The prisoners' arraignment is set to occur within months.
In January, Chief Defense Counsel for Guantanamo war crimes tribunals, Colonel JP Colwell, ordered attorneys under his command not to comply with rules [JURIST report] requiring military officials to review all legal correspondence between lawyers and the detainees accused of involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks. Navy rear Adm. David Woods [official profile] issued the new rule in December. Lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo have previously raised concerns with practices used at the prison. Last November, lawyers complained specifically about the infringement on attorney-client privilege [JURIST report] in a letter directed to the attention of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs.