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Bush Administration Eases Restrictions on Guantanamo Prisoners


The U.S. Justice Department has withdrawn one of the many proposals aimed at restricting attorney access to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In papers filed Friday with a federal appeals court in Washington, the department says it will no longer limit an attorney's visits with Guantanamo detainees to only three.

The court has scheduled a hearing next week to consider the restrictions imposed by the Bush administration, which include screening mail sent by attorneys to the detainees, and denying attorneys access to secret evidence used by military panels against their clients.

The administration says the restrictions are necessary to maintain security at Guantanamo. But civil rights and legal advocacy groups say the rules violate a basic constitutional right to a fair trial.

There are about 385 detainees being held at the U.S. military base, which has housed suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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