Monday, August 3, 2009

Candace Gorman on "My Experiences Representing a Guantanamo Detainee"

Attorney H. Candace Gorman, who represents Guantanamo prisoner Abdul Al-Ghizzawi, as well as another Guantanamo prisoner, both pro bono, has had an essay published in the American Bar Association's Litigation Magazine. What follows is a brief selection from the article, which the ABA let her post online.
Shortly after receiving what I thought was the name of my client, I filed a petition for habeas corpus on his behalf. I had to clear a daunting series of bureaucratic hurdles before I was allowed to meet with him. To see Guantánamo detainees, their attorneys must first receive a security clearance and then have a protective order entered by the court that outlines the rules for habeas counsel. I applied for my security clearance shortly after filing the habeas petition. As I was waiting for my clearance, I received news that my client’s health was deteriorating, and I filed an emergency motion to have the protective order entered so that an attorney who already had clearance could visit with my client and determine his condition. The DOJ opposed the order, and the judge subsequently denied my motion, finding that I did not show anything “concrete” or any “impending irreparable harm” to warrant the entry of the protective order at that time. The judge did not explain exactly how I was to show something concrete when I was not allowed to communicate with my client.
Ms. Gorman notes that al-Ghizzawi, who had been very ill with hepatitis and languishing in solitary for what seemed like forever, is now out of isolation, and while still quite ill, is doing better.

Read her piece in order to get a good picture of how dedicated attorneys, standing for the rule of law, struggled to bring legal representation to prisoners in a U.S. prison.

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