Military Law

Defense lawyers can't see secret order on secret motions in cases against alleged terrorist plotters

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A Guantanamo judge has issued a secret order on two secret prosecution motions in the cases of detainees accused of plotting the USS Cole bombing and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Defense lawyers say the secret filings don’t meet the standards for classified materials, but the position is difficult to argue because they have little information about the filings, the Miami Herald reports. Even the titles of the motions are secret. Only the prosecutors can see the contents of the order.

“You have to make something public about why it’s secret so we can have a debate about it,” said Jay Connell, the defense lawyer for alleged 9/11 conspirator Ammar al Baluchi, in an interview with the Miami Herald.

The judge held secret hearings with prosecutors on the motions. In the first, even the guards were not allowed to stay, according to a redacted transcript (PDF) reviewed by the Miami Herald.

The secret June 4 order was recently revealed (PDF) in a website notice. The Miami Herald notes that the detainees in both cases were held for years in secret overseas prisons.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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