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Guantanamo prisoners face body search says lawyer

Yemenis wearing orange jumpsuits, like those worn by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, hold a protest on April 16, 2013
Yemenis wearing orange jumpsuits, similar to those worn by prisoners at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, hold a protest demanding the release of inmates on hunger strike, on April 16, 2013 outside the US embassy in Sanaa. Guantanamo officials ha

Guantanamo officials have warned detainees at the US prison that they will have to be patted down thoroughly each time they meet their lawyers, an attorney said.

The alleged threat comes as more than two thirds of the 166 "war on terror" suspects still held at the jail in southern Cuba have joined a hunger strike now in its fourth month to protest their detention.

"Under the new search policy, a detainee who leaves his camp is subject to a search including his private parts and holding his private parts," lawyer David Remes told AFP after returning from the prison to speak with some of his dozen clients there.

Guantanamo military officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Remes, who was at the US naval base from April 29 to May 3, said two of his Yemeni clients on hunger strike -- Abd al-Malik Abd al-Wahab, held at Camp 5, and Salman Rabeii of Camp 6 -- had mentioned the new policy.

They said a military official informed them of the measures that same week, though they were not subjected to the searches, according to Remes.

Expressing outrage at the "shocking" searches, the lawyer said they were "designed to deter many detainees from meeting with their clients... to make their life more miserable and put the detainees in front of an impossible choice."

The "scare tactic" is "just another tool to break the hunger strike," he added.

But Remes acknowledged that "to my knowledge, this type of search has not been conducted."

In order to meet with their lawyers, detainees are driven to specialized cells at Camp Echo.

Two of the meetings Remes had scheduled with his clients were canceled last week. Mukhtar al-Wrafie decided against the meeting because he was afraid he would be submitted to the humiliating search, Remes cited Abd al-Wahab as telling him.

And Remes suspected that another, Saeed Hatim, did not meet with him "for the same reason."

As of Friday, 100 Guantanamo detainees were refusing food, including 27 who were being fed via a tube running down their nose. Four were hospitalized but their life was not in danger, according to Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House.

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