Court delays ban on Guantanamo groin searches

US justice department argues that a ban on invasive body searches weakens security at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay.

Guantanamo bay prison
About 100 of the 166 men held at Guantanamo Bay prison recently staged a prolonged hunger strike [Reuters]

A federal appeals court has allowed the US government to continue genital searches of Guantanamo Bay detainees – at least temporarily.

The court on Wednesday granted the Obama administration’s emergency motion for a temporary delay in enforcing Judge Royce Lamberth’s order banning the practice.

The appeals court ruled just minutes after a scheduled telephone call between a detainee and his lawyer.

The military wanted that call to be conducted under rules Lamberth had banned – including searching the detainee’s groin area for contraband.

The government argued that Lamberth’s order would weaken security at the US Navy base in Cuba by making it harder to prevent smuggling of contraband.

Lamberth had concluded that the motivation for the searches is not to enhance security but to deter the detainees’ access to lawyers.

Source: News Agencies