Sunday, July 18, 2010

Conviction Upheld

The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Services has affirmed the conviction at a general court-martial of Lt. Commander Matthew Diaz for offenses related to his providing the names of Guantanamo detainees to an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights. The names were placed inside a Valentine's Day card. The Miami Herald reports:

In a unanimous, 26-page opinion, the appellate court rejected most of Diaz's appeal. The appellate judges did find the trial judge erred in denying Diaz the opportunity to present evidence about his motives in leaking the Guantánamo detention information, but the appellate court concluded this error was essentially harmless.

The fascinating case arose from Diaz's service between July 2004 and January 2005 as a deputy staff judge advocate with Joint Task Force Guantánamo Bay.

Diaz provided to the Center for Constitutional Rights the names of some 551 detainees, inside a Valentine's Day card.

Diaz argued that the Espionage Act, under which he was charged, has an ``intent to do harm'' requirement, whereas he ``sought to demonstrate that he intended no harm to the United States and acted only to uphold the Constitution.'' The appellate panel rejected this argument.

Mr. Diaz received the 2008 Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize for the conduct at issue in the case. (Mike Frisch)

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