Judge Demands Speedy Trial for Gitmo Prisoners

After 7 years, it's 'time to move cases forward'
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2008 2:51 AM CDT
A Guantanamo detainee on the grounds of the maximum security prison at Guantanamo Bay. Lawsuits filed by 200 inmates are about to reach federal courts.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – A federal judge coordinating 200 Guantanamo Bay cases has ordered the Justice Department to set aside all other work to give the detainees their day in court as soon as possible. "The time has come to move these forward," he ruled. A Justice Department attorney asked for eight weeks to start turning over evidence so the government can "present its best case." 

But the judge complained that if the evidence "wasn't sufficient" when inmates were first imprisoned "then they shouldn't have been picked up." Cases could begin as early as September. Some 270 inmates have been held at Guantanamo for nearly seven years. "A day in court on the Guantanamo cases is a treasured moment," said a pleased defense attorney.