The following memorandum is the complete text of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo's standard operations procedures (SOP) published in January 2003, for the handling of Korans that are provided to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE JOINT TASK FORCE GUANTANAMO HEADQUARTERS, JOINT DETENTION OPERATION GROUP (JDOG) GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA APO AE 09360
January 19, 2003
MEMORANDUM FOR All personnel, JDOG
SUBJECT: Camp Delta Interim SOP Modification: Inspecting/Handling Detainee Korans Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
1. General. The purpose of this SOP is to provide guidance and set specific procedures for the handling and inspecting of detainee Korans.
2. Intent. To ensure the safety of the detainees and MPs while respecting the cultural dignity of the Korans thereby reducing the friction over the searching the Korans. JTF- GTMO personnel directly working with detainees will avoid handling or touching the detainee's Koran whenever possible. When military necessity does require the Koran to be search, the subsequent procedures will be followed.
a. The MP informs the detainee that the Chaplain or a Muslim interpreter will inspect Koran. If the detainee refuses the inspection at any time, the noncompliance is reported to the Detention Operations Center (DOC) and logged appropriately by the block NCO.
b. The Koran will not be touched or handled by the MP.
c. The Chaplain or Muslim interpreter will give instructions to the detainee who will handle the Koran. He may or may not require a language specific interpreter.
d. The inspector is examining so as to notice an unauthorized items, markings, or any indicators that raises suspicion about the contents of the Koran.
e. The inspector will instruct the detainee to first open the one cover with one hand while holding the Koran in the other thus exposing the inside cover completely.
f. The inspector instructs the detainee to open pages in an upright manner (as if reading the Koran). This is a random page search and not every page is to be turned. Pages will be turned slowly enough to clearly see the pages.
g. The inspector has the detainee show the inside of the back cover of the Koran.
h. The detainee is instructed to show both ends of the Koran while the book is closed so that inspector can note the binding while closed paying attention to abnormal contours or protrusions associated with the binding. The intent is to deduce if anything may be in the binding without forcing the detainee to expose the binding, which may be construed as culturally insensitive or offensive given the significance of the Koran.
i. How the detainee reacted, observation by other detainees, and other potentially relevant observations will be annotated appropriately on the block significant activities sheet as well as staff journal.
a. Clean gloves will be put on in full view of the detainees prior to handling.
b. Two hands will be used at all times when handling the Koran in manner signaling respect and reverence. Care should be used so that the right hand is the primary one used to manipulate any part of the Koran due to the cultural association with the left hand. Handle the Koran as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art.
c. Ensure that the Koran is not placed in offensive areas such as the floor, near the toilet or sink, near the feet, or dirty/wet areas.
a. Korans should be left in the cell as a general rule (save in MSU), even when a detainee is moved to another cell or block. In principal, every cell (except MSU) will have a Koran "assigned" to it.
b. If a Koran must be removed at the direction the CJDOG, the detainee library personnel or Chaplain will be contacted to retrieve and properly store the Koran in the detainee library. The request for the librarian/Chaplain, as well as the retrieval itself, will be logged appropriately.
c. If the Chaplain, librarian, or Muslim interpreter, within the needs of the situation, cannot remove the Koran, then the MP may remove the Koran after approved by the DOC (who notes this in the MP Blotter) IAW the following procedures:
1) Clean gloves will be put on in full view of the detainees prior to handling
2) Two hands will be used at all times when handling the Koran in manner signaling respect and reverence.
3) Place a clean, dry, detainee towel on the detainee bed and then place the Koran on top of the clean towel in a manner, which allows it to be wrapped without turning the Koran over at any time in a reverent manner. Ensure that the Koran is not placed in offensive areas such as the floor, near the toilet or sink, near the feet, or dirty/wet area when doing this activity.
d. How the detainee reacted, observation by other detainees, and other potentially relevant observations will be annotated appropriately on the block significant activities sheet as well as staff journal.
e. The Koran shall be returned to the librarian, Chaplain, or DOC (in that order).
f. Exception: Detainee in MSU may have a Koran if specifically authorized by a 508-1 or the Level 5 Block Entitlement Form. Once detainee leaves MSU, the same handling/removing policies and procedures remain in effect.
6. Korans are the property of the U.S. Government and as such will remain in the cells only to be removed at the JDOG Commander's decision.