Court Says Uighur Prisoners at Guantanamo Must Be Released

A district court judge has ordered that 17 Uighur prisoners from China who have been held captive for nearly 7 years – and were kept imprisoned even after U.S. authorities cleared them of any wrongdoing – must be released. The prisoners were refugees in Pakistan who were sold to U.S. authorities in exchange for bounty payments.

Human Rights Watch:

“The Uighur detainees have been held at Guantanamo for nearly seven years, even though the government acknowledges they should be freed. Since Washington has failed to resettle the Uighurs elsewhere, it should parole them into the United States.”
– Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel, Human Rights Watch.

There are currently 17 Uighurs in Guantanamo – most of whom were turned over from Pakistan to the United States for bounties in late 2001. The US government cleared these detainees for release by 2004, but they were not returned to China due to credible fears that they would be tortured upon return. For several years, the US government has tried to convince other countries to resettle the Uighurs. In 2006, Albania agreed to take in five of them, but no other country has offered to do so, in part because of US unwillingness to accept any released Guantanamo detainees itself.

“The Uighur detainees have been held at Guantanamo for nearly seven years, even though the government acknowledges they should be freed,” said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Since Washington has failed to resettle the Uighurs elsewhere, it should parole them into the United States.”

New York Times:

“I think the moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for detention,” Judge Urbina said.

Saying the men had never fought the United States and were not a security threat, he tersely rejected Bush administration claims that he lacked the power to order the men set free in the United States and government requests that he stay his order to permit an immediate appeal.

Image courtesy of CBS2 Chicago

More on detainees

~ by lolarusa on October 9, 2008.

One Response to “Court Says Uighur Prisoners at Guantanamo Must Be Released”

  1. The funny part is that the US government argues that the Uigurs must be kept in Guantanamo because they could face persecutions if returned to China.

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