US judge lambasts government Guantanamo lawyers
A US federal judge in Washington has lashed out at government prosecutors for repeated delays in the case of four Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo Bay.
"Respondent's counsel violated all three orders," Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in an unusually harshly worded court document seen Wednesday.
Kollar-Kotelly was referring to an earlier decision that a government lawyer should be removed from the case for repeatedly missing deadlines.
"He never moved for an extension or even supplied an explanation for his conduct," the judge wrote.
The lawyer's "compliance was not optional," she wrote, adding that the court "has serious concern about counsel's ability to read and comprehend its orders."
The rare public row between the judge and prosecutors reflects frustrations over delays to appeals by Guantanamo prisoners in federal courts.
The US Supreme Court last year allowed some 240 current detainees at the controversial US military detention center to take their cases to judges.
However, only a handful of cases have been completed, with the administrations of both President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush demanding more time to declassify evidence.
The four Kuwaitis in question are among hundreds who have been held without charge at Guantanamo since Bush launched a "war on terror" in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
Eight other Kuwaitis have been freed.
Obama has vowed to close the prison by January 2010 and has established a multi-agency task force to review detainee policy.