Tougher Security Measures Are Causing Upset at Guantánamo Prison

An effort to unshackle a detainee during legal meetings has put a spotlight on simmering tensions in the Pentagon’s secretive prison.

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Tougher Security Measures Are Causing Upset at Guantánamo Prison |

The entrance to the military commissions war court at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

In a protest over tougher security measures at the Guantánamo Bay prison, a lawyer for the man accused of plotting the U.S.S. Cole bombing asked a judge on Tuesday to have the prisoner unshackled during legal meetings, invoking his torture by the C.I.A.

Guards let the man, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, meet his lawyers more than 150 times while he was unshackled from 2019 until late last year, said Lt. Cmdr. Alaric Piette of the Navy, the defense lawyer. Now the change has re-traumatized the prisoner and impeded his lawyers’ ability to communicate and work with him.

“We are asking to be in the room with him unshackled as we were for four and a half years,” Commander Piette said. “To do otherwise would be to exacerbate the torture that Mr. Nashiri went through at the hands of the government.”

Through their lawyers, some of the 30 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have complained that the military police officers who guard them recently resumed more stringent practices that had been abandoned over the years.

Details have been scant because some of the security measures are probably classified. When the new prison commander, Col. Steven Kane, defended his practices in testimony at the war court on Monday, the judge in the case, Col. Matthew S. Fitzgerald, closed the court to the defendant and the public.

In court on Tuesday, a prosecutor, Capt. Kyle P. Lanning, did not explain the reason for the renewed policy of shackling prisoners during legal meetings but urged the judge to defer to the prison commander.

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