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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration wants to rewrite the official evidence against Guantanamo Bay detainees, allowing it to shore up its cases before they come under scrutiny by civilian judges for the first time.
The government has stood behind the evidence for years. Military review boards relied on it to justify holding hundreds of prisoners indefinitely without charge. Justice Department attorneys said it was thoroughly and fairly reviewed.
Now that federal judges are about to review the evidence, however, the government says it needs to make changes.
The decision follows last week's Supreme Court ruling, which held that detainees have the right to challenge their detention in civilian court, not just before secret military panels. At a closed-door meeting with judges and defense attorneys this week, government lawyers said they needed time to add new evidence and make other changes to evidentiary documents known as ''factual returns.''
Attorneys for the detainees criticized the idea, saying the government is basically asking for a last-minute do-over.
''It's sort of an admission that the original returns were defective,'' said attorney David Remes, who represents many detainees and attended Wednesday's meeting. ''It's also an admission that the government thinks it needs to beef up the evidence.''