GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, July 12 (UPI) -- A U.S. federal judge ordered the government to end genital searches of detainees at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The decision issued Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth will change the examinations detainees must undergo before and after any meeting they have with their counsel, Voice of America reported.
"Specifically, guards shall be limited to grasping the waistband of the detainee's trousers and shaking the pants to dislodge any contraband," Lambert said in his ruling.
Lawyers said the genital searches were meant to break a hunger strike and discourage their clients from seeking legal assistance, Voice of America reported.
Col. John Bogdan, who oversees the prison, ordered the genital searches in May. He told the court his decision was based on security interests for the facility following the suicide of detainee Adnan Farhan Abd Latif and the separate discovery of contraband when prisoners in one area were moved from communal living to single-cell housing.
Lamberth, chief judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, said the court "finds that the new search procedures lack a 'valid, rational connection' to the legitimate government interest -- security -- put forward to justify them."
Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said the decision was being reviewed.
In September, Lamberth rejected restrictions on lawyers' access to clients who did not have an actively pending habeas corpus lawsuit, The New York Times reported. Among those who brought the September action was David Remes, a lawyer who helped challenge the groin searches.
Remes said Thursday's ruling was a "slap in the face to the government,"
"Will the government ever give up trying to thwart the men's right to counsel in habeas cases?" he asked.