Lawyers who represent two detainees held at Guantanamo bay have filed motions asserting that their clients should be allowed to pray communally during the month of Ramadan, citing the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the case of Hobby Lobby.
According to Aljazeera America, the lawyers are arguing that their clients’ rights are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). They assert that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case changes the fact that courts have previously failed to find Guantanamo detainees “persons within the scope of the RFRA,” who enjoy “religious free exercise rights.”
In court papers, 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 of the RFRA.” The motions were filed earlier this week in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Emad Hassan of Yemen and Ahmed Rabbani of Pakistan.
According to Axis of Logic, attorneys have asserted that the two men are being prevented from taking part in communal prayers due to the fact that they are participating in a hunger stroke. Cori Crider, an attorney who represents the detainees, questioned the circumstances:
“Why are the authorities at Guantanamo Bay seeking to punish detainees for hunger striking by curtailing their right to pray? If, under our law, Hobby Lobby is a ‘person’ with a right to religious freedom, surely Gitmo detainees are people too.”
U.S. Army Lt. Col. and Department of Defense spokesman Myles B. Caggins III acknowledged that the department was aware of the filing, and said that the government would respond to it through the proper legal channels. “We are committed to religious freedoms and practices for the detainees,” Caggins stated, “keeping in mind the overall goal of security and safety for detainees and staff.”
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this week in favor of craft store Hobby Lobby, a case that sharply divided public opinion along partisan lines. The owners of Hobby Lobby claimed that their religious freedom was violated by a contraceptive mandate found in the Affordable Care Act. In a widely circulated, scathing dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg criticized the “startling breadth” of the court’s ruling, asserting that “What the Court must decide is not ‘the plausibility of a religious claim…’ but whether accommodating that claim risks depriving others of rights accorded them by the laws of the United States.”
The ruling is already being cited by religious groups who wish to claim exemption from federal laws, though it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision will be applied to the detainees at Guantanamo.
[Images via Raw Story and Huffington Post]