Federal judges reinstate Guantanamo groin searches
A federal appeals court is allowing Guantanamo guards to resume searching detainees' genitals on their way to and from legal meetings while the Obama administration challenges a federal judge's ruling that the searches unfairly impede attorney-client meetings.
The order on Wednesday by a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit capped 24 hours of legal wrangling: The Justice Department asked a New York lawyer to let guards search her client's privates, the lawyer refused and the Southern Command's top general joined the fray with a sworn declaration that a federal judge got it wrong.
Groin searches aren't intended to prevent legal meetings, said Southcom's Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, noting that his Guantanamo soldiers similarly search captives meeting with Red Cross delegates.
Past practice of shaking a captive's trousers to see if “nails, shanks, ragged scraps of metal” fall out “posed an unacceptable risk to the safety and security of detainees and guards,” Kelly said.
Last week, detainee lawyers convinced U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth that the invasive searches, adopted amid a widespread hunger strike, were discouraging some of Guantanamo's 166 captives from voluntarily leaving their cells for meetings with their lawyers. Lamberth ordered the guards to stop it, and resume the practice of physically shaking the waistband of the pants of a prisoner to see whether any contraband comes out.
The latest legal move occurs as the prison camps reported that it had 46 hunger-striking captives designated for forced-feedings on Wednesday.
Army Lt. Col. Samuel House said the prison counted a total of 78 prisoners as hunger strikers, down from a record 106 on the eve of Ramadan.
Navy medical staff listed 46 as having health conditions sufficiently at risk to require twice-daily trips to a restraint chair and nasogastric feedings if they refused to voluntarily drink nutritional supplements. Three hunger strikers were at the prison camps hospital, House said, none with “any life-threatening conditions.”
Pro-bono defense lawyers who last week won the court order preventing the practice reacted with fury.
“Doesn't the government have more important things to do than defend its right to grope detainees?” said attorney David Remes in Washington.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lone gunman kills monument guard, attacks Canada’s Parliament
- ISIS claims it grabs U.S. military ware
- Iraqi Kurds to send fighters to aid Kobani
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Loophole rewards expelled Nazi suspects with Social Security benefits
- Deepening U.S. commitment to Kobani ties Obama’s Islamic State effort to Kurds’ fate
- 10 hurt in bombing at Cairo University
- Kurds, U.S. warplanes run ISIS out of Syrian border town of Kobani
- Russia, Ukraine leaders signal progress in talks on peace, gas
- Fatal attack on soldier in Quebec ‘terrorist act’
- French oil CEO killed when private jet collides with snowplow during takeoff in Moscow