News / USA

Court Orders US Gov't to Stop Guantanamo Genital Searches

FILE - Barbed wire surrounds the prison camps at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba in this April 17, 2013 video frame grab reviewed by the U.S. Military.
FILE - Barbed wire surrounds the prison camps at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba in this April 17, 2013 video frame grab reviewed by the U.S. Military.
A U.S. federal judge has ordered the government to stop genital searches of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, an act detainees’ lawyers say was aimed to break a hunger strike and discourage their clients from seeking legal counsel.

The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth on Thursday would change the examinations detainees are subject to before and after any phone call or meeting they have with their counsel.

“Specifically, guards shall be limited to grasping the waistband of the detainee’s trousers and shaking the pants to dislodge any contraband,” Lambert wrote in his ruling.

Col. John Bogdan, who oversees the prison, ordered guards to begin the genital searches in May. He told the court his decision was based on an interest in the security of the detention facility.

He said he “developed a phased approach in December 2012 to gradually” implement the new search procedure following the suicide of detainee Adnan Farhan Abd Latif and the separate discovery of contraband when prisoners in Camp 6 were moved from communal living to single cell housing.

In response, Judge Lamberth said the “Court finds that the new search procedures lack a ‘valid, rational connection’ to the legitimate government interest - security - put forward to justify them.”

Lamberth also asserted that “Bogdan’s swiftness in implementing the new searches in May 2013 shows that linking the new searches to the death of Latif and the subsequent investigation was merely an afterthought.”

Defense Department spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale said the Pentagon is reviewing the decision.

“We’re aware of the judge’s ruling and we will continue to follow the law,” he said about an hour after receiving the Court’s decision.

The government has not yet stated whether it will make an appeal.

Attorney David Remes, who represents five Guantanamo detainees who are hunger striking to protest their treatment, has described the frisking of detainees' genitals and buttocks as “humiliating, especially for devout Muslim men." 

He demanded Bogdan’s immediate replacement and called the court's ruling a "disaster for the government."

"It's an unmistakable reminder that the court, not the government, is custodian of the legal rights of the detainees," Remes said. 
 
Cori Crider of the British human rights group Reprieve said the judge’s decision was “fantastic news.”

“Those searches were clearly established to stop clients coming out to speak to attorneys and therefore the world outside,” she said, noting that many prisoners were refusing calls because they did not want to undergo the "groping."

“I hope their being discontinued will convince the clients to come out and speak to lawyers again, so we can learn what is happening with the hunger strike more easily," she said.

Of the 166 men imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, more than 100 are refusing to eat to protest their indefinite detention. The government is force-feeding 45 prisoners. The hunger strike began in February.

In a separate Guantanamo case Monday, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said she did not have the jurisdiction to rule on a detainee's petition to stop the force feedings, which she called a "painful, humiliating and degrading process." That action, she said, should be taken by U.S. President Barack Obama.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs