Jose Padilla, 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, the Department of Defense announced today. Arrangements for that access are being coordinated.
DoD is allowing Padilla access to counsel as a matter of discretion and military authority. Such access is not required by domestic or international law and should not be treated as a precedent. A similar decision to allow Yaser Esam Hamdi access to a lawyer was announced Dec. 2, 2003.
DoD has determined that such access will not compromise the national security of the United States, and DoD has determined that such access will not interfere with intelligence collection from Padilla, who is a U.S. citizen.
As a U.S. citizen, Padilla is not eligible for trial by military commission under the presidents military order of Nov. 13, 2001. 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 permits access to counsel by an enemy combatant who is a U.S. citizen and who is detained by DoD in the United States: (1) after DoD has determined that such access will not compromise the national security of the United States; and (2) 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.