Judge rules against lawyer restrictions

Sept. 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A federal judge blocked the U.S. government from restricting lawyers' access to detainees at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

In his Thursday ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the government's proposed measure would violate the prisoners' right to challenge their detainment, The Washington Post reported.

"Access to the courts means nothing without access to counsel," Lamberth wrote, adding the government's attempt "to supersede the court's authority is an illegitimate exercise in executive power."

The government was seeking to restrict lawyers' access to six detainees at Guantanamo Bay, as well as block them from obtaining key documents about their cases, CNN said. Four of those detainees had put their cases on hold, but wanted to maintain access to their lawyers, and the other two had already lost legal challenges to their imprisonments.

The new rules could have also led to "lengthy, needless and possibly oppressive delays" in the cases, the judge wrote.

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