Guantanamo detainees humiliating body search

Eurasia News

In a letter sent to British foreign secretary William Hague, a prominent human rights lawyer is alleging that Guantanamo Bay’s hunger striking detainees are being threatened with humiliating body searches before they are allowed to contact legal counsel.

Clive Stafford Smith, who currently represents several inmates at the US prison camp through the legal charity Reprieve, claims that guards at the facility are requiring invasive searches before detainees can conduct in-person interviews or even phone calls to lawyers.

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Guardian, and states that as a direct result of the new policy two of Smith’s clients were recently barred from speaking with their legal representatives after refusing the searches.

“The US military has started directly abusing prisoners who want to contact their lawyers to tell them what is happening. So anyone who wants to see a lawyer, or have a legal phone call, must have his fingers put up his anus and his genitals touched,” Smith writes.

There are currently 100 inmates confirmed by US authorities as participating in the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay since it began in earnest back in February, 30 of who are being force-fed via tubes.

The claims by Smith coincide with failure by one of his clients, Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, to speak with him via telephone last Friday, allegedly due to the new policy. Moqbel, who is participating in the hunger strike, was the recent author of a New York Times op-ed which detailed the pain and emotional impact of being force-fed by nasal tubes.

In response to the allegations, Lt. Col. Samuel House has told The Guardian that the new search procedures do not represent anything beyond a pat down:

“Full frisk searches are conducted in a professional manner to quickly locate and identify contraband hidden on the body. The searches are conducted with clothes on, similar to a pat-down search conducted by an airport security screener,” says House.