Friday, November 07, 2008

Due process?

A federal judge in Washington has opened the first habeas corpus hearing for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But lest you think that the detainees are finally receiving the benefits of American justice, consider this:

In the case that began Thursday, government lawyers appear to be taking few chances that the men will be freed.

They have filed a sealed envelope of evidence with Judge Leon, which the detainees’ lawyers have not been permitted to see. In court filings the government lawyers said that if the evidence in the closed hearings was not enough to justify the detention, then the judge should open the envelope.

Judge Leon, the filing said, “may very well ultimately face the circumstance where the information justifying detention is too sensitive” to share not only with the detainees but also with their lawyers.

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