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12/16/2003 Archived Entry: "Government plays word games, tyranny games, over denial of counsel"


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen being held incommunicado as an enemy combatant, can meet with a lawyer once the government decides it would not hamper his interrogation, Justice Department officials said on Tuesday.

Senior department officials said "dirty bomb" suspect Padilla, a U.S. citizen held without access to a lawyer for more than 18 months, may eventually meet with an attorney. Lawyers for Padilla have been arguing for access to him and the case is pending before a U.S. appeals court in New York.

"Once the intelligence collection efforts are judged not to be hampered or jeopardized by access to counsel, then there's no objection to access to counsel," one of the officials said. ...

The official said the Defense Department would make the determination that could eventually lead to Padilla's getting access to a lawyer. ...

One official said the U.S. government was not trying to prevent enemy combatants from having access to lawyers.

"Denial of access to counsel has never been an objective for anybody," he said.

Denial of access to counsel has never been an objective????? I'm sure that's a great comfort to Mr. Padilla and to every American citizen who wants the Bill of Rights to remain intact to protect freedom and ensure justice.

"First they came for the 'enemy combatants,' but I wasn't an 'enemy combatant,' so ..."

Posted by Claire @ 06:42 PM CST

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