October 7, 2008

Judge Orders Chinese Detainees Released

A U.S. judge Tuesday ordered the release of a group of Chinese Muslims held for seven years at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled that the Chinese Uighurs be released into the United States by Friday, the Human Rights Watch said in a release. Detaining them longer would be unfair since the United States no longer considers them to be enemy combatants and the Constitution bars indefinite imprisonment without charges, Human Rights Watch said.

When the U.S. government cleared the Uighurs of the "enemy combatant" designation, the government did not return the 17 detainees to China because of credible fears of torture, the human rights organization said.

"Once again, a federal court rejected the Bush administration's theory that its own determination can trump judicial review and constitutional rights," said Jennifer Daskal, senior counter-terrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. "After nearly seven years of detention without charge, the Uighurs being held at Guantanamo will finally be provided the legal relief they deserve."