A federal appeals court in Washington heard arguments today over a body search policy at Guantanamo Bay that lawyers for detainees contend restricts access to counsel.
A trial judge in July blocked the new policy, concluding the groin-area searches were religiously and culturally offensive to detainees and that the new policy was aimed at interfering with detainees' ability to meet with their lawyers. The U.S. Department of Justice today, defending the searches, asked a three-judge appellate panel to reverse that ruling. The government argued the trial judge lacked jurisdiction to block the new policy.
U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Edward Himmelfarb began arguments by explaining that the searches involved full-body frisks of fully clothed detainees. Judge Thomas Griffith jumped in, asking about the government's justification for groin-area searches detainees found "provocative" and "offensive."