Gitmo Detainees Sue, Cite Hobby Lobby

Hunger striking detainees want to participate in Ramadan prayers

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 7, 2014 8:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Just how slippery a slope did the Supreme Court lay out in its controversial Hobby Lobby decision? Lawyers for two Guantanamo Bay detainees aim to find out. In a legal motion last week, they demanded that courts step in and order the detention facility to allow their clients to pray communally, citing Hobby Lobby as a justification. "If, under our law, Hobby Lobby is a ‘person’ with a right to religious freedom, surely Gitmo detainees are people, too," one of the lawyers tells Al Jazeera.

Courts had previously determined that detainees weren't covered by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Washington Times explains, but in court documents the lawyers argue that "Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons—human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien—enjoy the special religious free exercise protections." The lawyers say that Guantanamo guards have prevented the two prisoners from taking part in special Ramadan tarawih prayers to punish them for hunger striking. A Pentagon spokesman said the government would "respond through the legal system."

In this May 14, 2009 file photo, reviewed by the US military, Guantanamo detainees pray before dawn near a fence of razor-wire, inside Camp 4 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
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