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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-07-2008, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Bush the Humanitarian

Judge orders 17 Chinese Muslims released from Guantanamo Bay

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina will decide where in the U.S. the men can be released. Most had been cleared of wrongdoing four years ago.

WASHINGTON -- For the first time, a federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to release prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, ordering 17 Chinese Muslims to be brought to his courtroom on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina said he would hold a hearing to decide where in the U.S. the men could be released. Several religious and social groups, including 20 church leaders from Tallahassee, Fla., said they would help the men resettle in their community.

The judge's order came more than six years after the men were sent to Guantanamo and more than four years after the Pentagon cleared most of them to be released.

It also comes four months after the Supreme Court ruled judges can order the release of prisoners wrongly held at Guantanamo. Shortly after that ruling, a U.S. appeals court said the government had no basis for holding Huzaifa Parhat, one of the 17 Uighurs who had fled persecution in his native China and who then fled Afghanistan after U.S. bombing raids there.

They were taken captive by locals in Pakistan who turned them over to U.S. authorities who were offering $5,000 bounties for the suspected foreign terrorists.

Human-rights lawyers have described the Uighurs as among the worst examples of men who were wrongly imprisoned at Guantanamo. And once there, they were unable to obtain their release, most because no other country was eager to take them in. The administration could not send them home to China because of the fear they would be persecuted and imprisoned there.

"The U.S. government has long recognized these men did not pose, and really never posed, a threat to the United States," said Jennifer Daskal, a lawyer for Human Rights Watch.

Nonetheless, Bush administration lawyers have continued to insist that a judge lacked the authority to release any prisoners from Guantanamo.

Civil liberties advocates hailed the judge's order as a breakthrough. "This is a historic day for the United States. Finally, we are beginning the process of taking responsibility for our mistakes and fixing them," said Emi MacLean, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Justice Department said it planned to seek a stay of Urbina's order. His ruling "presents serious national security and separation of powers concerns and raised unprecedented legal issues," said Brian Roehrkasse, a department spokesman.

More than 500 prisoners have been released from Guantanamo, including five Uighurs who were sent to Albania. More than 250 men remain in the prison in Cuba, including about 60 who would be released if the government could find countries willing to take them.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-07-2008, 06:18 PM
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Ah, the Bush Legacy. The gift that keeps on giving.

No wonder most of the world hates us now. Heck of a job Bushie!!!

And just where does our Senator McCain stand on the illegally held prisoners in Gitmo?

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Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-07-2008, 06:27 PM
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Can you add this to the Bush Than You thread?
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Appeals Panel Issues Stay of Order Freeing Detainees

(NY Times) A federal appeals court panel on Wednesday issued a temporary stay of a federal judge’s order that had directed the Bush administration to free 17 Guantánamo detainees by releasing them in the United States on Friday.

The order, from a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, made clear that it was intended to give the appeals court time to review the government’s request for a longer stay of the order from a federal district court judge in Washington, Ricardo M. Urbina. On Tuesday, Judge Urbina had directed that 17 men, members of the Uighur Muslim minority in western China, be brought from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to his courtroom where they were to be freed.

The brief order from the appeals panel said it was issuing what it called an administrative stay so that it could consider a Justice Department request for a stay of Judge Urbina’s ruling while the department appealed. The Wednesday night order said it “should not be construed in any way as a ruling” on the Justice Department’s request for a stay of Judge Urbina’s ruling.

Judge Urbina had said he would release the men, who have been held in Guantánamo since 2002. He said that the men had never fought the United States and that the government had presented no evidence that they presented a security threat to the United States.

The Wednesday order followed two days of legal confrontation between the Justice Department and lawyers for the Uighur detainees.

A Justice Department filing in the appeals court said the order by Judge Urbina exceeded the authority of the judiciary and would allow men to be released in Washington who “trained for armed insurrection against their home country.”

The detainees’ lawyers accused the government of resorting to “scare tactics in the form of innuendo and unsubstantiated, exaggerated and false rhetoric” and said the government’s request for appeals court intervention was an attempt to win years of new delays in the men’s cases.

The panel directed written briefs be submitted by Oct. 16 but gave no schedule for a ruling on whether it would stay Judge Urbina’s ruling pending a full appeal. The appeals judges on the panel were Karen LeCraft Henderson, A. Raymond Randolph and Judith Rogers.

A Justice Department spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, said the government was “pleased that the Court of Appeals granted our request for a temporary stay, and we look forward to presenting our case.”

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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