Thursday, January 29, 2015

GITMO Inmate Invoking RFRA Wants Only Male Guards During Transfers

Miami Herald reports that at a pre-trial hearing at Guantanamo Bay yesterday, the defense lawyer for former al Quaida commander Abd al Hadi al Iraqi asked for an expansion of the existing order barring female guards being used to transfer al Hadi to and from court and meetings with his lawyers.  Al Hadi who says that his religion bars touching of males by females who are not close family members wants the order extended to cover his transfers to medical, Red Cross and recreation yard visits.  His lawyers cite the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision to back their request for a religious accommodation.  According to facts that came out in yesterday's hearing, until last October only men were assigned to the elite guard  unit at Guantanamo's Camp 7 that houses 15 prisoners who have been held by the CIA for years.  But then a female lieutenant colonel took charge of Camp 7 and recruited women to do escort duty as well.  Officials say that military morale has suffered since the military judge's order barring women soldiers from touching male prisoners being transferred to meetings with their lawyers. (See prior related posting.)