Here is the latest development in the Al-Bahlul appeal before the D.C. Circuit. Readers may recall that in May, the court received conflicting statements from detainee and counsel—one from Mr. Al-Bahlul himself expressing his desire to withdraw his case, and another shortly thereafter from his defense counsel explaining that misinformation had caused his client to send the handwritten note and that Al-Bahlul did, indeed, wish to continue pursuing his case. To set the record straight, the D.C. Circuit then ordered GTMO detainee Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al-Bahlul to, through counsel, certify to the court in writing whether he wanted to continue pursuing his appeal.
Al-Bahlul’s counsel, Michel Paradis, has just filed his response to the court’s order. To summarize, Paradis reports that because of the Office of Military Commissions Chief Defense Counsel’s ongoing instructions not to use the legal mail system, he did not notify his client in advance of his visit to GTMO on June 15. Bahlul then declined two requests to meet when Paradis showed up. What’s more, with Ramadan fast-approaching, he won’t be able to visit GTMO and try to meet with the detainee again until mid-August.
Thus, the defense asks the court to accept its assertions that Al-Bahlul does indeed wish to continue pursuing his case. Paradis places the blame in part on himself:
In hindsight, we regret that Mr. Paradis did not think to ask Mr. Bahlul to memorialize his wishes in writing two months ago. Given the tenor of the meeting, there is no reason to doubt that Mr. Bahlul would have been willing to do so. The only pleadings Mr. Paradis pre-cleared to bring into the meeting, however, were relevant to withdraw. We therefore ask that an oversight on Mr. Paradis’ part not prejudice Mr. Bahlul, who had no reason to believe such a document was necessary for his case to continue and told counsel that he wished to defer any future attorney-client meetings until his case had been decided by this Court.
Here’s the response itself.