Guantanamo officials have warned detainees at the widely reviled US prison that they will have to be patted down thoroughly each time they meet their lawyers, an attorney said Friday.
The alleged threat comes as more than two thirds of the 166 "war on terror" suspects still held at the jail in southern Cuba have joined a hunger strike now in its fourth month to protest their detention.
"Under the new search policy, a detainee who leaves his camp is subject to a search including his private parts and holding his private parts," lawyer David Remes told AFP after returning from the prison to speak with some of his dozen of clients there.
Guantanamo military officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Remes, who was at the US naval base from April 29 to May 3, said two of his Yemeni clients on hunger strike -- Abd al-Malik Abd al-Wahab, held at Camp 5, and Salman Rabeii of Camp 6 -- had mentioned the new policy.
They said a military official informed them of the measures that same week, though they were not subjected to the searches, according to Remes.
Expressing outrage at the "shocking" searches, the lawyer said they were "designed to deter many detainees from meeting with their clients... to make their life more miserable and put the detainees in front of an impossible choice."
The "scare tactic" is "just another tool to break the hunger strike," he added.
But Remes acknowledged that "to my knowledge, this type of search has not been conducted."
In order to meet with their lawyers, detainees are driven to specialized cells at Camp Echo.
Two of the meetings Remes had scheduled with his clients were canceled last week. Mukhtar al-Wrafie decided against the meeting because he was afraid he would be submitted to the humiliating search, Remes cited Abd al-Wahab as telling him.
And Remes suspected that another, Saeed Hatim, did not meet with him "for the same reason."
As of Friday, 100 Guantanamo detainees were refusing food, including 27 who were being fed via a tube running down their nose. Four were hospitalized but their life was not in danger, according to Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House.