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To outsiders, the court process often seems to move at a snail’s pace. But sometimes even lawyers can’t sit tight. Last week, a coterie of attorneys representing Guant�namo detainees filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking it to speed up its response to their appeal. “Until this Court issues its decision, Guant�namo will remain a land without law, where the government is free to continue its arbitrary, cruel, and inhumane imprisonment of the detainees,” lawyers wrote Feb. 2. The detainees’ appeal in Al Odah v. United States and Boumediene v. Bush was first filed in February 2005 after two district judges issued conflicting decisions on the detainees’ ability to challenge their detention in habeas corpus petitions. Lawyers were called in for two sets of arguments, first in September 2005 and again the following March. But the case has been complicated by changes in the law, first by Supreme Court challenges and then by passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and, just four months ago, the Military Commissions Act. In the meantime, however, all court action for the detainees has been on hold — what the lawyers say stands “in stark contrast to the concept of habeas as a �speedy’ remedy.”
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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