[JURIST] Lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoners filed a complaint [text; case materials] Thursday alleging search policies restrict the detainees’ access to counsel. According to a new policy [Al Jazeera report], detainees are subject to a genital pat-down whenever they wish to leave the detention camp, which they must do to meet with their lawyers. This caused representatives for more than a dozen detainees to file the complaint, saying:
The new policies have no legitimate purpose, but are pretextual, imposed in order to chill the right of access to counsel… The inescapable inference, however, is that the new policies have no legitimate purpose, but are pretextual, imposed in order to chill the right of access to counsel. Indeed, one guard has admitted that the purpose of the physical searches and the treatment inflicted upon detainees.
This new policy is said to offend and humiliate the prisoners in such a way as to prevent them effective access to counsel. Because of this, the challengers of the policy seek an immediate end to the practice.
Earlier this month US President Barack Obama [official website] renewed his pledge [JURIST report] to make an effort to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. In April JURIST Guest Columnist David Frakt of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law argued that the Obama administration should release those detainees [JURIST op-ed] held at Guantanamo Bay who have already been declared to not be a danger to the US. Earlier last month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called for US authorities to close down the Guantanamo prison camp [JURIST report], emphasizing the continued indefinite incarcerations of many detainees as a clear violation of international law.