A federal judge has ordered the US government to stop trying to restrict lawyers' access to detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court in Washington ruled yesterday that the detainees have the right to meet their lawyers.
Lamberth sided with detainees whose bids to challenge their confinement have been denied or dismissed.
The US government wanted to force lawyers to agree that any meetings or communications with detainees are "subject to the authority and discretion" of the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp commanding officer.
However, the judge insisted that suspects have an ongoing right to go to court to contest their imprisonment.
"In the case of Guantanamo detainees, access to the courts means nothing without access to counsel."
Judge Lamberth said the government's attempt to change the rules was "an illegitimate exercise of executive power."
There are nearly 170 detainees at Guantanamo, many who have been there for 10 years without facing any charges.