Rights Group Criticizes Uigher Ruling, Urges Resettlement in U.S.

Washington, DC – Human Rights First regrets the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling today that the district court lacked authority to order the release into the United States of 17 Chinese Uighers currently detained at Guantanamo. But the ruling does not preclude the possibility of resettling the Uighers on U.S. soil, says the group.

“This decision puts into stark relief the human costs of the Bush Administration’s misguided Guantanamo policies, and underscores the urgency for the new administration to act to set it right,” said Elisa Massimino, CEO and Executive Director of Human Rights First. “These men were wrongly detained at Guantanamo for nearly seven years despite the lack of any evidence of their involvement with al Qaeda or the Taliban, or that they engaged in any conduct suggesting ill will toward the United States. There is no evidence that they pose a security threat, and if the US Supreme Court’s decision establishing the constitutional right of detainees to challenge their detention in a court of law means anything at all, then justice requires their release.”

“President Obama is unlikely to succeed in closing Guantanamo without the cooperation of other countries. And that cooperation depends in part on a demonstrated willingness to chart a new course,” said Massimino. “The executive orders were a first step toward signaling this change.  Resettling the Uighers in the United States would send another important message, increasing the likelihood that other countries will accept some Guantanamo prisoners themselves.”


Published on February 18, 2009


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