The Department of Defense announced today that Yaser Esam Hamdi, an enemy combatant detained at the Charleston Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, S.C., will be allowed access to a lawyer subject to appropriate security restrictions. Arrangements for that access will be developed over the next few days.
DoD is allowing Hamdi access to counsel as a matter of discretion and military policy; such access is not required by domestic or international law and should not be treated as a precedent.
DoD decided to allow Hamdi access to counsel because Hamdi is a U.S. citizen detained by DoD in the United States, because DoD has completed its intelligence collection with Hamdi, and because DoD has determined that the access will not compromise the national security of the United States.
Hamdi is not eligible for trial by military commission under the President’s military order of Nov. 13, 2001, and has not been criminally charged in any court. Detention as an enemy combatant is not criminal in nature but is permitted under the law of war to prevent an enemy combatant from continuing to fight against the United States. Under the law of war, enemy combatants may be detained until the end of hostilities.
DoD policy is that it will permit access to counsel by an enemy combatant who is a U. S. citizen and who is detained by DoD in the United States after DoD has determined that such access will not compromise the national security of the U. S.; and after DoD has completed intelligence collection from that enemy combatant or after DoD has determined that such access will not interfere with intelligence collection from that enemy combatant.