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Justices Dismiss Uighurs Appeal


In October 2008 U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the release of 17 Uighur detainees from Guantanamo into the U.S.  That of course never happen as the order was immediately appealed by the government.  The DC Circuit ruled that only the President and Congress have jurisdiction over immigration matters, and attorneys for the detainees then appealed to the Supreme Court which agreed to hear what had now become a separation of powers case.

With some of the Uighur detainees, ethnic Chinese Muslims who feared persecution if returned to China, already resettled in other countries and the remaining soon to have new homes – see Saved by the Swiss – the Supreme Court chose to send the case back to the DC Circuit.

NYT story here.

Urbina Frees the Uighurs


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.

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.