Contextual Content

Justice department wants to rewrite Gitmo evidence

The Bush administration wants to rewrite official evidence against Guantanamo Bay detainees before they come under scrutiny by civilian judges for the first time.
While the government has stood behind the evidence for years, they now want to submit new records, which would allow them to add intelligence and expand their reasoning for holding the detainees. Defense attorneys were opposed to the idea of making changes to evidentiary documents. According to David Remes, who represents 18 detainees currently held at Guantanamo, this is a sign that the original documents were defective adding that much of the evidence came from questionable sources to begin with. It will be up to federal judges to decide whether the Justice Department can rewrite those documents.

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Story Transcript

ZAA NKWETA (VOICEOVER): The Bush administration wants to rewrite official evidence against Guantanamo Bay detainees before they come under scrutiny by civilian judges for the first time. The decision follows the recent Supreme Court ruling that Guantanamo detainees have the right to challenge their detention in a civilian court. The government has stood behind the evidence for years, while military review boards relied on it to justify holding hundreds of prisoners indefinitely without charge. But now that the federal judges are about to review the documents, the government says it needs to make changes. Lawyers for the detainees were opposed to the idea of making any changes to evidentiary documents.

DAVID REMES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, at this stage of the game, it’s sort of an admission that the original returns were defective, and it’s also an admission that the government thinks it needs to beef up the evidence it originally presented.

MUNIER (VOICEOVER): David Remes, who represents 18 detainees currently held at Guantanamo, also said that much of the evidence comes from questionable sources.

REMES: Really, much of the evidence consists of what these Afghan bounty hunters or Pakistani border guards told the US about the individual. And not only does that amount to hearsay, but it’s highly unreliable hearsay, because these bounty hunters had every incentive to make these men out to be the worst of the worst.

MUNIER (VOICEOVER): Now that the government wants to submit new records, it will be up to federal judges to decide whether the Justice Department can rewrite those documents.

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