Researched by: Melissa Robinson and Ashley McLoud
Evaluated by: Michael Hooper
Long cleared of terrorism charges, 17 ethnic Uyghurs have been held for years at Guantanamo Bay, often in dungeons in solitary confinement. The Uyghurs remain at Guantanamo as the US is unable to find a country to take them and won’t return them to China where they would face persecution. So far, five Uyghurs were forcibly resettled in Albania, isolated and away from their families. Albania has balked at resettling the others, fearing reprisals from Beijing. The Uyghurs of Guantanamo are of a Muslim ethnic minority group in western China who, while displaced during bombings shortly after 9/11, were picked up by US forces but quickly determined to be innocent of connections to al-Qaeda. In October 2008 Supreme Court restored habeas jurisdiction and ordered the Uyghurs be released and resettled in the US. The release order was however quickly appealed by the Bush administration. That appeal was upheld by the US Court of Appeals on February 8, 2009, which determined that only the executive branch can order the Uyghur release. The Uyghurs continue to languish in Guantanamo, their fate resting with President Obama.
“Long Cleared of Terrorism Charges, Uyghurs Languish in Gitmo Prison and Albanian Exile” Democracy Now! January 30, 2009, http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/30/long_cleared_of_terrorism_charges_uighurs
“Fate of 17 innocent Guantanamo detainees rests with Obama” Argentina News.Net February 20, 2009 http://feeds.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php?sid=469349