WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Justice Department asked a federal judge to review the rules for handling 113 appeal cases by 'war on terror' detainees being held at the US naval base prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to court documents.
The administration of President George W. Bush is concerned that the current rules to handle the appeals are "ambiguous in certain important respects and that it would, if excessively construed, create obligations that realistically cannot be met in the limited two-week time frame," according to a legal document that AFP obtained a copy of.
The two-week frame was set by Judge Thomas Hogan, who is coordinating the appeals as they move to the federal courts, on November 6.
The Habeas Corpus appeals process for the roughly 250 Guantanamo detainees, authorized by the Supreme Court on June 12, is unprecedented and will require scores of court hearings for attorneys from both sides to set common rules.
Under the current guidelines it is up to the government to justify the detention of some 200 men who have filed their appeals, contained in 113 separate cases.
The guidelines also orders the government to provide defense attorneys the material used to justify the detention as well as circumstancial evidence that a judge could find pertinent.
The cases have been distributed to different federal judges in the US capital. But according to the government, several of them have gone beyond the rules set by Judge Hogan.
The Justice Department's main concern is the possible revelation material, classified or not, that prosecutors may use to present their case.
"Disclosing the information required" would "unnecessarily burden government agencies charged with prosecuting the present war and would risk serious damage to national security," the document read.
The document said the Justice Department may ask an appeals court to modify the rules.
Since the June 12 ruling, defense attorneys have criticized the slow pace at which government prosecutors have been moving. Some detainees have been waiting seven years for their time in court.
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