An appeals court has upheld genital searches of Guantanamo prisoners. The prisoners are searched at least twice every time they meet with their lawyers.
According to the US Military, during the searches a guard places his hand as a “wedge between the scrotum and thigh, and uses the flat hand to press against the groin to detect anything foreign attached to the body. A flat hand is used to ensure no contraband is hidden between the buttocks.”
The policy was adopted in May 2013. The Government argued the searches were necessary because of the September 2012 death of prisoner Adnan Latif. A military investigation into Latif’s death concluded he committed suicide by overdosing on medication. The investigation speculated Latif may have hidden medications in his groin area.
The government also argued the procedure was necessary because of the discovery of improvised weapons in prison cells at Guantanamo in April 2013.
Lawyers for the prisoners argued multiple prisoners have stopped meeting their lawyers due to the policy.
In July 2013 Federal Judge Royce Lamberth ruled the practice illegal.
In his decision, Lamberth wrote, “This Court is duty bound to protect the writ of habeas corpus as a fundamental prerequisite of liberty by ensuring that all those who seek it have meaningful and effective access to the courts. For Guantanamo detainees, it is undisputed that access to the courts means nothing without access to counsel.”
On August 1 the DC Appeals court reversed Lamberth’s decision, saying, “The tenuous evidence of an improper motive to obstruct access to counsel in this case cannot overcome the legitimate, rational connection between the security needs of Guantanamo Bay and thorough searches of detainees.”