Life in Guantanamo Continues to Improve as Genital Searches Are Halted

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The U.S. government has taken another step toward showing its great concern about the well-being and comfort of Guantanamo's 166 detainees by ending searches of their genitals,--granted, only because it is being required to. On Thursday, Royce Lamberth, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, ordered the genital searches to stop. The comes only days after the military decided that, out of respect for the detainees' religious faith and individual convictions, during Ramadan it would force-feed 45 hunger strikers only before dawn and after sunset. It seems life continues to improve for the men held at Gitmo, where fewer than two-thirds of them are on hunger strike, seeking to escape indefinite detention without trial through suicide.

It appears the genital searches were rather extensive: "The detainees had complained that guards had recently begun touching and holding detainees' genital and anal areas during searches," the Associated Press' Frederic J. Frommer reports. The genital searches began when detainees had to meet with their lawyers in a location outside the prison. Judge Lamberth ordered ruled that guards can only grab a detainee's waistband and shake his pants to see if there's something hidden. 

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Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, began July 8. The military allowed about 75 detainees—who had been confined to individual cells 22 hours a day since April—to pray and eat in groups, the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg reports. Two detainees quit the hunger strike, marking the first time the number of hunger strikers has shrunk this year. That leaves 104 on hunger strike, and 45 being force-fed by inserting a tube into the nose, down the esophagus and into the stomach.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.