Hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay are being threatened with body cavity searches before they can see their legal representatives, a leading human rights lawyer has claimed in a letter to British foreign secretary William Hague.Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of legal group Reprieve, represents various detainees in Guantanamo, the controversial U. S. military detention camp in Cuba used to house terrorism suspects.They include Shaker Aamer, who is among more than 100 inmates currently on a hunger strike at the jail that has created global headlines and a growing political problem for President Obama by focusing on attention on how so many inmates have been detained without trial for so long.In the letter to Hague, seen by the Guardian, Smith said U. S. guards insist on a body search before any detainee can contact their lawyer, either via an in - person interview at the base or with a phone call.Smith added that as a result of the threat, two of his clients and at least one other prisoner refused to go through with the search and thus missed a chance to talk to their lawyers. The claims also match reports by the Agence France - Press news agency, which has reported that prisoners must undergo the searches before and after talking with lawyers. " Any pretext given for these new rules is just that: a pretext. The prisoners do not need to be sexually assaulted in order to be taken to a telephone to talk to their lawyer, " Smith wrote.The claims were denied by the U. S. military. " Full frisk searches are conducted in a professional manner to quickly locate and identify contraband hidden on the body. The searches are conducted with clothes on, similar to a pat - down search conducted by an airport security screener, " said Lt Col Samuel House in a statement.House added that detainees were searched when they moved between facilities and that any refusal would result in them not being escorted to any appointment. " If a detainee refuses to be searched as part of a routine move outside of camp, such as for a phone call, legal appointment or non - emergency medical appointment, the guard force will not take the detainee, " he said. The GuardianFACTS & FIGURES
With the first strikers beginning three months ago, several of the Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers are now in failing health, and while the military is trying to downplay that, and is trying to ameliorate the situation with force - feedings, experts say that the first deaths are now just “a matter of time. ” AntiwarLawyers for Guantanamo detainees and human rights officials have reported over 100 detainees are engaged in a hunger strike, protesting mistreatment and the confiscation of Qur’ans. AntiwarThe hunger strike has prompted the Red Cross to step in. Earlier this month, the Red Cross chief pressed Washington on the Guantanamo hunger strike, expressing opposition to the force - feeding of prisoners.Also, the American Civil Liberties Union and other human rights groups on Monday called on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to halt the force - feeding of hunger - striking Guantanamo detainees. The Huffington PostThe prison in eastern Cuba reportedly holds 166 men seized in counterterrorism operations, most of them have been held without charge for a decade. Although Obama promised to shut down the facility at the beginning of his first term as president, the facility remains open. RT