Lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say authorities at the military base have begun reading privileged attorney-client communication — in a sharp break with past practice.
Legal mail is the principal means of communication between detainees charged in military commissions and their military defense attorneys,who are based in the Washington area.
In a letter Tuesday, nine of the attorneys wrote to William K. Lietzau, deputy assistant secretary of defense for rule of law and detainee policy, to object to authorities reading their mail to clients at the detention center. They asked that the commander at Guantanamo Bay be ordered to “cease and desist the seizure, opening, translating, reading and reviewing of attorney-client privileged communications.”
A military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said that privileged mail between attorneys and their clients has always been clearly marked as such.