Navy Spokesman: No More Big Macs Or Chocolate Chip Cookies For Guantanamo Bay Prisoners
A new rule coming into effect Wednesday prohibits lawyers from bringing Big Macs, pizza and other outside food to detainees at Guantanamo Bay legal conferences.
Lawyers were up in arms immediately, saying the prohibition breaks a long-standing tradition at the Naval base in Cuba which began in 2005, but prison spokesman Navy Capt. Tom Gresback remained firm, the Miami Herald reports. The new procedural modification is for health and safety reasons, as well as bringing Guantanamo Bay into alignment with the barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where a similar prohibition exists.
“It’s actually quite tragic for the clients,” attorney Alka Pradhan told the Miami Herald. “Sometimes the food we bring is the only thing from the outside world they’ve seen in months, and they really look forward to it.” The first meetings between lawyers and prisoners took place in 2005. Two years later, Gitmo allowed lawyers access to a kitchen and refrigerator to help prepare food.
Other prisons do not allow for lawyers to bring food, and so the example of one lawyer bringing approximately $5,000 dollars worth of McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and other outside food for detainee Omar Khadr is quite an anomaly.
Gresback declined to refer to any specific case which may have prompted the policy reversal, though at the moment, detainees have declared a hunger strike. In the past, the lawyer for former detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab used legal conferences as a way to keep Dhiab healthy in the midst of a hunger strike by bringing him juice boxes. Now, a stove and microwave formerly present in the area used to host these conferences have disappeared. The memo, however, still appears to allow individual containers of coffee, tea or juice.
Violation of the procedure, the memo continues, “may result in termination of meetings.”
“A legal room is not designed to be a dining facility,” added Gresback.
Earlier this month, a Navy nurse managed to avoid being brought in front of a personnel board for refusing to force-feed prisoners during hunger strikes.
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