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Pentagon official stays Marine Corps general's contempt conviction

[JURIST] A Pentagon official on Friday ordered [POLITICO report] the release of a Marine Corps general, who was sentenced last week to 21-days confinement [JURIST report] to his quarters by Guantánamo Bay military commissions judge Air Force Col. Vance Spath.

Marine Brigadier General John Baker, acting as chief defense counsel, argues that his conviction is invalid due to a lack of authority under the Military Commissions Act of 2009 [text, PDF]. He filed a petition in the US District Court for the District of Columbia seeking for his conviction to be voided.

Military Commissions Convening Authority Harvey Rishikof suspended the sentence pending its review, causing district judge Royce Lamberth to halt review of the petition.

The dispute arose from Baker's refusal, after an order by Spath, to reverse the release of three civilian defense lawyers from the USS Cole [text] case. According to Baker, the authority to release war court lawyers lies with him.

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