Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gonzales Blames Attorneys for Lack of Gitmo Trials

NEW YORK - January 16 - After the recent controversy surrounding Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Charles "Cully" Stimson's comments about major law firms representing Guantánamo detainees pro bono, today, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales blamed attorneys for the lack of trials to date. "It's not for lack of trying. We are challenged very step of the way," Gonzales said in a radio interview. "We are trying as hard as we can to bring these individuals to justice." According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which organizes the representation of the detainees, the Bush administration is twisting the notion of justice.

"The only delay in charging, trying or releasing detainees has been by the Bush administration. To suggest that the legal challenges are what has prevented the detainees from seeing justice is really through the looking glass," said CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren. "We have been trying for five years to get their cases heard in federal court, and the Bush administration has continued to try to circumvent two Supreme Court rulings and do everything in its power to keep the men at Guantánamo from challenging their detention. Only 10 of the 775 men who were imprisoned at Guantanamo have been have even been designated for the military commissions, which are a sham tribunal to begin with."

The Supreme Court ruled the military commissions unconstitutional in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld this past summer, prompting the administration to work with Congress to pass the Military Commissions Act in an attempt to retroactively strip detainees of the right of habeas corpus.

Last week, Stimson came under fire for claiming that the pro bono work of major law firms representing detainees was somehow suspicious and that their corporate clients should put pressure on them to withdraw.


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