[Pnews] Guantánamo reinstates genital searching policy to prevent lawyer-client meetings

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 7 12:54:54 EDT 2015


*Guantánamo reinstates genital searching policy to prevent lawyer-client 
meetings*

10/7/15

This week, two clients of international human rights NGO Reprieve chose 
not to meet their attorneys at Guantánamo due to reinstated genital 
searches, raising fears that the searches are being used in a deliberate 
attempt to stop detainees from meeting with their lawyers.

Staff at Guantánamo told Reprieve attorney Cori Crider during her visit 
this week, that cleared detainee Samir Moqbel refused their meeting 
because he didn’t want to submit to the genital search. Briton Shaker 
Aamer also told his Reprieve attorney on an unclassified phone call 
several days ago: “The judge said they could not do that [genital 
searches]. So they started to do it again on Friday.”

Guantánamo staff explained in prior filings that the search involved 
invasive searches of the prisoner’s groin “by placing the guard’s hand 
as a wedge between the [detainee’s] scrotum and thigh . . . and using 
[a] flat hand to press against the groin to detect anything foreign 
attached to the body,” after which a guard "uses a flat hand to frisk 
the detainee’s buttocks to ensure no contraband is hidden there.”

In 2013, during the height of a mass hunger strike at Guantánamo, the 
genital searches were the subject of litigation in US federal court, and 
were eventually discontinued by camp authorities. A judge who ordered 
the searches should be stopped wrote: “the choice between submitting to 
a search procedure that is religiously and culturally abhorrent or 
forgoing counsel effectively presents no choice for devout Muslims like 
petitioners.”

Both Samir Moqbel and Pakistani Ahmed Rabbani have refused their planned 
meetings with Reprieve attorneys visiting Guantanamo this week. Both are 
previous hunger-strikers. Mr Rabbani is currently thought to weigh less 
than 100 pounds and in recent letters has described his mental and 
physical deterioration. Because of the searches he is now unlikely to 
see an attorney. Reprieve lawyers have requested a meeting with the camp 
Commander to discuss the practice but have so far received no response.

*Cori Crider, Reprieve director and counsel to a number of Guantánamo 
prisoners*, said: “After fourteen years of indignity, it’s no surprise 
that many of my clients aren’t willing to put themselves through the 
further humiliation of being pointlessly groped by guard staff. This 
whole policy is plainly an effort to stop Gitmo prisoners meeting their 
lawyers. For months these men were searched normally and brought to sit 
with counsel without incident. Yet for no discernible reason the 
authorities have changed protocol and resumed grabbing my clients’ 
genitals - it’s degrading, it’s needless, and it unlawfully interferes 
with these people’s right to consult an attorney.”

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve's 
press office - clemency.wells at reprieve.org.uk

-- 
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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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