twitter

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chinese Muslims' release into US blocked for now

This is from the Associated Press via Yahoo.

Whenever the courts try to address injustices at Guantanamo the Bush administration either changes the law or appeals as in this case. Even though they are not charged with anything it seems that it doesn't really matter if there is a couple of weeks more in captivity since they have been imprisoned for seven years! Justice American style for suspected terrorists.


Chinese Muslims' release into US blocked for now
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer1 A group of Chinese Muslims set to be freed into the U.S. this week from Guantanamo Bay found their freedom stymied yet again after a simple government plea: What's a couple more weeks or so in jail after nearly seven years?
That in essence was the Bush administration's argument to a federal appeals court in a 19-page emergency request that maintained there would be only "minimal harms" if the detainees were to stay at Guantanamo a while longer.
Late Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed, halting the 17 men's release for at least another week to give the government more time to make arguments in the case.
The appeals court set a deadline of next Thursday for additional filings, when it will be left up to the judges to decide how quickly to act — and in whose favor.
"Our hope is that the Court of Appeals will not stand in the way of justice," said Jason Pinney, a lawyer representing the detainees. "After seven years of unlawful imprisonment, it's time for these men to be released. The government should not be permitted to continue down this path on interminable delay."
The three-judge appeals panel that halted the detainees' release included Judges Karen Henderson and A. Raymond Randolph, both appointees of the first President Bush, and Judge Judith W. Rogers, who was appointed by President Clinton.
The appeals court's move comes after U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina on Tuesday made a dramatic decision ordering the government to free the detainees by Friday. Urbina said it would be wrong for the Bush administration to continue holding the detainees, known as Uighurs (pronounced WEE'gurz), since they are no longer considered enemy combatants.
"We are pleased that the Court of Appeals granted our request for a temporary stay, and we look forward to presenting our case," Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said after the appeals court issued its one-page order.
The Bush administration had asked the appeals court to block Urbina's order no later than Wednesday. The detainees were scheduled to arrive in Washington early Friday and appear in Urbina's courtroom for release to local Uighur families who have agreed to help them settle into the United States.
The government said the detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba had admitted receiving weapons training in Afghanistan and were a national security risk.
The Bush administration also said it was continuing "heightened" efforts to find another country to accept the Uighurs, since the detainees might be tortured if they are turned over to China.
"There are extensive efforts. We oppose the idea of their release here," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Wednesday.
In Beijing on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: "Some people may worry whether these people could be tortured in China. I believe this is biased. China is a country under the rule of law, and forbids torture by any Chinese authorities, be they judiciary or public security."
Albania accepted five Uighur detainees in 2006 but has since balked at taking others, partly for fear of diplomatic repercussions from China.
Uighurs are from Xinjiang — an isolated region that borders Afghanistan, Pakistan and six Central Asian nations — and say they have been repressed by the Chinese government.
The Uighur detainees were captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2001.
China has long said that insurgents are leading an Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang. The Beijing government has repeatedly urged the U.S. to turn the Uighurs over to Chinese authorities.
"We have raised our position to the U.S. and we hope they will take this position seriously and repatriate these 17 people to China shortly," Qin said Thursday.
The Uighurs' case is among dozens currently being reviewed by federal judges after the Supreme Court ruled for a third time in June that foreign detainees at Guantanamo have the right to sue in U.S. civilian courts to challenge their imprisonment.
Emi MacLean, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing many of the detainees, called Wednesday's decision a major blow. After telling the Uighurs they would be freed, lawyers will now have to tell them "their detention is once again indefinite."
"It's hard to believe there is any sense of justice in a situation like that," she said.

No comments: