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Document seizure called blow for Guantanamo detainees

Published September 29, 2006

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - The Naval Criminal Investigative Service's confiscation of more than 1,100 pounds of documents is hampering the ability of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to confront accusations against them.

Correspondence between attorneys and their clients was among the documents seized. Lawyers for detainees say the military is violating attorney-client privilege and exacerbating the isolation of detainees by taking family pictures and other personal items.

"Attorneys working at Guantanamo have never believed they could tell clients with certainty that attorney-client communications are truly confidential," lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan told the Associated Press in an e-mail. "Now that the government has admitted to reviewing the legal materials of many detainees, it is obvious that these concerns were well-founded."

Patricia A. Bronte, another attorney, said detainees will now have a harder time trying to clear themselves.

"I believe that their ability to present evidence in their defense, already severely circumscribed, will be further harmed," Bronte said.

About 460 detainees are currently at Guantanamo, including some held for more than four years.

[Last modified September 29, 2006, 01:31:29]

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