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.
The 17 men currently imprisoned at Guantanamo left China amid increasing political oppression and found their way to Afghanistan, where they lived in small Uighur communities. In late 2001, they were forced to flee the aerial bombardment of the surrounding areas. Eventually, they made their way to Pakistan in the belief that they would be safer there. After crossing into Pakistan, the Uighurs were welcomed and fed by Pakistani villagers who then turned them over for generous bounties offered by the United States.
Last week, after years of litigation, the U.S. government finally conceded that none of these men would be treated as “enemy combatants.” All were cleared for release long ago. However, because of the stigma of their detention at Guantánamo and for fear of offending China, no other country had agreed to offer these men safe haven. Despite this failure to find a third country to take them, the government argued that the court could not release them into the U.S. and, therefore, that the men would have to stay at Guantanamo indefinitely.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
I suppose this is good news, but it's also a reminder of the country George W. Bush has given us. From a press release from the Center for Constitutional rights.
by Atrios at 12:16