Federal Judge Orders Release of Uighur Detainees Into U.S.

On Sunday I wrote a long post on the plight of the Uighur Chinese Muslim detainees at Guantanamo and the court hearing that would be held today.

The Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU reports (link will be available here) the Judge did in fact order their release into the U.S.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina in Washington, D.C. rejected the Bush administration’s position of indefinitely holding the detainees, known as Uighurs, since they are not considered enemy combatants. The Uighurs have been held in Guantánamo for seven years.


....“This is a landmark decision that represents a stinging rejection of the Bush administration’s unconstitutional Guantánamo policies. The situation facing the Uighurs is a stark reminder of the legal and moral quagmire of Guantánamo. These individuals were cleared for release, but have been held without charge by this administration in a system that ignores the fundamental tenets of due process. The judge was right to rule that this kind of detention is unlawful because the Constitution prohibits indefinite imprisonment without any charges.”

MSNBC has this article reporting the Judge ordered the Government to release the Uighurs into the United States.

The Center for Constitutional Rights says:

Today, for the first time, a federal court ordered the release into the United States of 17 innocent Uighur men who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay for nearly seven years. The men are refugees who would face persecution and imprisonment, if not death, if returned to their native China.

This is a historic day for the U.S. Finally, we are beginning the process of taking responsibility for our mistakes and fixing them,” said CCR Attorney Emi MacLean. “For years, the United States has begged other countries to clean up the mess we made in Guantanamo, but the hypocrisy of this appeal was evident abroad. Perhaps now other countries will be less reluctant to come to our aid.” MacLean continued, “Allowing these wrongfully detained men a fresh start would also provide the U.S. a fresh start – an opportunity to turn a page and finally take a position of leadership in closing Guantanamo.”

All of our coverage of the Uighurs is accessible here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Per SCOTUSBlog, Judge Urbina (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by scribe on Tue Oct 07, 2008 at 12:39:04 PM EST
    has both denied the government's request for a stay of the decision and ordered the government to produce the detainees in his courtroom on this Friday morning, at 10 AM.  He delivered a summary ruling from the bench (i.e., he's written an opinion and summarized it orally in open court, and he did not reserve decision).  That oral statement, then, is summarized by SCOTUSBlog as follows:

    Delivering a summary of his ruling from the bench, Urbina said his order was based on the fact that the Uighurs' detention had become effectively indefinite, that the government conceded they would not return to the battlefield, and that the government had provided no alternative grounds for detention. He noted the government's "extensive diplomatic efforts" had yet to find a country willing to accept the Uighurs, and rejected the government's argument that the Executive branched possessed authority to "wind-up" their detention.

    He also noted the main case upon which the government had rested its position had been undermined by subsequent decisions.

    Would that he had waited until November 5 to rule, since all this is doing is giving the Republicans more red meat to throw to their jackal base.

    Yeah, the base that consists of (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by litigatormom on Tue Oct 07, 2008 at 01:45:57 PM EST
    "let's detain innocent civilians whom we've already decided aren't enemy combatants forever and ever.

    I say to that base...well, I can't type what I say to that base without violating the rules here. Let your imagination run free.


    A sad and telling fact about America. . . (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Oct 07, 2008 at 02:02:44 PM EST
    justice and politics are so often at odds.

    All this money talk.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 07, 2008 at 02:40:07 PM EST
    lately and you almost forget about what is really important.

    The economy of a nation that jails so callously ...is it really worth saving?  One of the brightsides of a national bankruptcy is the bars that hold the innocent and the redeemable swing wide open...no brave, principled judge required.