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Urbina Frees the Uighurs

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Applause erupted in a packed courtroom today after Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the government to bring 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo for the past seven years into his courtroom at 10am Friday.  The Uighur detainees, whom the government concedes are not enemy combatants, have no country willing to take them in, and return to China would likely mean imprisonment or worse.

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Judge further ordered that the Uighurs are not to be questioned or detained by immigration officials. “Nothing will happen to these people,” he said.

The government is likely to seek a stay of the order from the Court of Appeals.

Washington Post story is here.

Judge Vows Detainee Cases “Resolved This Year”

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At a second hearing this week resulting from the Supreme Court’s recent decision allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to have their cases heard in civilian courts U.S. District Judge Richard Leon emphatically expressed his intent to move quickly. “The Supreme Court has spoken. They want this done. By God, we’ll get this done”.

Reuters story here.

Habeas Hearings for Gitmo Detainees Begin

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The ceremonial courtroom in Washington’s U.S. District Court was filled to capacity with more than 120 lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a dozen government lawyers, and various clerks, reporters and spectators. Another couple dozen lawyers for the detainees listened to the proceeding on conference call.

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At the conclusion of the hearing Judge Hogan remarked: “The government has to set aside
every other case pending before them and get these cases moving
first….People in all levels of government should understand that.”

AP story here.

Yet another internet sex sting

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U.S. Navy ensign and fourth-year medical student Troy Lewis sat with his attorney as Assistant U.S. Attorney Julieanne Himelstein summed up the government’s case for the jury.  Lewis had used the internet to arrange a sexual encounter with a ten-year old, but his contact turned out to be an undercover DC police detective.

The local NBC4 has the story here (usually they do a better job shooting the sketches, and where’s my credit?!?).

Abu Ghraib court-martial

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A military jury heard opening arguments yesterday in the court-martial of the only senior officer to face criminal charges in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan “was the officer in charge … He was
the highest ranking officer on the ground,” prosecutor Colonel John
Tracy told the panel of nine Army colonels and one brigadier general.

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Colonel Thomas Pappas, an intelligence brigade commander who was the highest-ranking officer at Abu Ghraib  -seen here on the witness stand as Lt. Col. Jordan, left, listens- testified that he took over as director of the center because Jordan wasn’t focusing on it enough. Pappas has been reprimanded and fined $8000 for his part in the scandal, but not charged with any crimes.

AP story here.

Gitmo guilty plea

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David Hicks, a 30 year-old Australian who has been detained at Guantanamo since 2002, last night pleaded guilty to one count of material support for terrorism.

The drawing is from his first appearance before the military commissions in August 2004. Hicks, seated, is flanked by his attorneys, military – Maj. Michael D. Mori with his hand on Hicks’ shoulder, and civilian. Hicks’ parents are in the left foreground.

Washington Post story here.