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The Justice Department’s request to limit lawyers’ access to their clients at Guant�namo Bay prison is not the first time lawyers for the detainees have tussled with the government over access. After three prisoner suicides last summer, the Pentagon was accused of seizing attorney-client material from detainees. And in recent months more than one government official has said lawyers are causing havoc at the base. Now an April 9 proposal filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit would formally change the modus operandi of counsel visits, adding further restrictions. The proposal, which is not entirely a surprise, claims lawyers have never been denied access to their clients (despite judicial opinions stating the opposite), that prisoners’ conditions are not unduly harsh, and that attorney-client privilege has not been violated. Lawyers for the prisoners have asked the court to use the same set of rules that governed visits while prisoners’ habeas petitions were at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They’ve also asked for further discovery about the allegations against their clients and for the appointment of a special master. The proposed changes are set to be heard May 15 before a three-judge panel made up of Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg and Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Judith Rogers.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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