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Bush administration blasts tribunal appeal

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court not to rush a decision in an extraordinary appeal about the government’s plans for military trials for foreign terror suspects.

The government also criticized the appeal, filed this week by lawyers for a man facing a military trial, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. The Yemeni was a driver for Osama bin Laden, but has denied supporting terrorism.

The high court had been asked to decide by next week whether to hear Hamdan’s case, which raises questions about government power to prosecute wartime prisoners.

The government’s top Supreme Court lawyer, Paul Clement, said in a court filing that Hamdan’s appeal is “wholly unjustified” and that the court should not speed up consideration of it.

A federal judge had sided with Hamdan, who is being held at a military prison in Cuba with hundreds of other foreign detainees.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is taking up the government’s appeal. Hamdan’s lawyers, however, want the Supreme Court to review the case before the appeals court rules.

Such appeals are unusual, and Clement said it is premature and unnecessary.


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