Guantanamo Officials Violate Attorney-Client Privilege in New Policy

Officials at the military detention center have been reading the mail correspondence, which lawyers say is illegal

Lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay detention center say officials at the military base have been reading privileged attorney-client communications, which they assert is illegal, violates legal ethics, and will impede the criminal proceedings set to resume soon.

“The review and censorship of legal materials will effectively grind litigation to a halt by barring legally required attorney-client communications,” the lawyers wrote in the letter to the Pentagon urging them to overturn what they said were new policies that violate attorney-client privileges.

The lawyers are representing six defendants, so-called “high-value detainees,” including prisoners facing war crimes trials for the September 11 attacks, but found out only recently that mail to and from lawyers and detainees was being read by officials at the military base in Cuba.

Military personnel at Guantanamo Bay have typically opened mail in the presence of detainees to confirm there was no contraband in the envelopes, and then handed it to them without reading the contents. Last month, the new commander at the prison, Rear Adm. David B. Woods, changed the policy and insisted on reading the mail.

The lawyers threatened to litigate the issue to “the fullest extent.”

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.