Strip searches debilitating: Guantanamo suspect


The only detainee sent to the United States to face trial in a civilian court from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was ordered to appear in court following his claim that prison strip searches debilitate him.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani to appear in court today to hear from him directly about the motion his lawyers filed for a change of Bureau of Prisons rules on how it conducts strip searches.

Ghailani, a Tanzanian, is charged with conspiring in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 224 people. He was transferred in June from Guantanamo Bay to be tried in Manhattan federal court.

The judge’s order, referring to the still-sealed motion, says Ghailani refuses to voluntarily appear in court because the prison subjects him to a visual strip search that includes inspection of the “rectal area.”

This search, according to expert testimony included in the motion, triggers memories of CIA interrogations and renders Ghailani incapable of appearing in court.

Ghailani skipped an appearance last November after he was strip searched, saying he was “humiliated” by it, the order says. He has not been in court since then.

Ghailani has pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda to kill Americans, and separate charges of murder for the 224 people killed in the 1998 bombings.