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COURT DENIES REVIEW OF POST-9/11 SECRECY

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  • ummyakoub
    COURT DENIES REVIEW OF POST-9/11 SECRECY Charles Lane, Washington Post, 2/24/04 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64058-2004Feb23.html The Supreme
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2004
      COURT DENIES REVIEW OF POST-9/11 SECRECY
      Charles Lane, Washington Post, 2/24/04
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64058-2004Feb23.html

      The Supreme Court said yesterday that it will not hear a Miami man's
      case against the unusual secrecy that enveloped the proceedings
      against him in lower federal courts, ending the court's involvement
      in one of the murkier legal stories to emerge from the Bush
      administration's investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
      attacks.

      Mohamed Kamel Bellahouel, 34, an Algerian immigrant, was detained on
      a visa violation in October 2001, then turned over to the FBI as a
      material witness after it developed that he had waited on a table
      occupied by some of the Sept. 11 hijackers at a Middle Eastern
      restaurant in the Miami area.

      He was released on bond in March 2002 after testifying before a grand
      jury, but the government still sought to deport him -- and got both a
      federal district court in Florida and the Atlanta-based federal
      appeals court that heard Bellahouel's constitutional challenge to the
      deportation to agree they would not publicly acknowledge that the
      matter had even been before them.

      Bellahouel had asked the Supreme Court to rule that the official
      blackout over his case violated the public's First Amendment right of
      access to court proceedings. Courts may not conduct proceedings in
      secret without providing a public explanation for doing so,
      Bellahouel's lawyers argued. His appeal was supported by the
      Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, but the court denied
      the organization's motion to join in the case.

      Initially, U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson brushed off the
      case, declining the opportunity to respond to Bellahouel's petition
      for review. But in a sign the court did not regard the matter as
      routine, the justices asked him in November to reply. Olson's
      eventual response was filed under seal, as was the response from
      Bellahouel's lawyers...

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