NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials may strip-search a former Guantanamo prisoner suspected in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa despite his claims the searches are debilitating, a U.S. judge has ruled.
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian, is charged with conspiring in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 224 people. He is the only detainee so far to be transferred from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States for trial in a civilian court. He is to be tried in federal court in Manhattan.
Failing to inspect the “defendant’s body cavities would risk the safety of the guards, other inmates, and court personnel by creating opportunities for the defendant to secrete weapons or contraband in his person,” U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said.
The order was dated June 14 and released to reporters on Thursday.
An independent expert testified in May that Ghailani suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from interrogations he endured as a CIA captive, Kaplan’s order said.
Ghailani’s lawyers had argued that the Bureau of Prison’s policy of conducting visual strip searches, specifically the inspection of the “rectal cavity,” triggered memories of being tortured by U.S. authorities. The effect of being searched rendered him incapable of assisting in his own defence, they said.
Lawyers for Ghailani were not immediately available for comment.