'Enemy Combatant' Loses Right to Lawyer, Feds Say

NY Daily News
6/20/02 - The government argued yesterday in a legal filing that U.S. citizens who
are declared enemy combatants have no right to an attorney and that
federal courts have no right to interfere.

The Justice Department is appealing a ruling by a federal judge in
Norfolk, Va., allowing Yaser Esam Hamdi a U.S.-born Saudi suspected of
being a Taliban member to meet with a public defender.

"There is not right under the laws and customs of war for an enemy
combatant to meet with counsel concerning his detention," the Justice
Department wrote in a 46-page document filed yesterday.

The filing goes on to say, "The court may not second-guess the
military's enemy combatant determination."

"This is really an astounding assertion of authority," David Cole, a
Georgetown University law professor, told The Washington Post.

"It's not just that you have no right to a lawyer, it's that you have no
right to even have a hearing," he said. "If that is true, then there is
really no limit to the President's power to label U.S. citizens as bad
people and then have them held in military custody indefinitely."

News Wire Services


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