Judge orders release of Chines Muslims held in Guantanamo

October 8th, 2008 - 4:47 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 8 (DPA) A federal judge ordered the Bush administration Tuesday to release in the United States 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.US District Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled that because the Uighurs are not considered enemy combatants and don’t pose a threat to the US they can no longer be locked up at Guantanamo.

The Pentagon years ago cleared the Uighurs for release but the government has been unable to find a country willing to take them. The US will not return them to China over concerns they will be subjected to abuse.

But Urbina concluded the detainees cannot be imprisoned indefinitely while the government seeks out a third country and gave the Bush administration three days to release them.

The Justice Department said it was reviewing the ruling. The American Civil Liberties Union praised the decision.

“These individuals were cleared for release, but have been held without charge by this administration in a system that ignores the fundamental tenets of due process,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s national security programme.

“The judge was right to rule that this kind of detention is unlawful because the Constitution prohibits indefinite imprisonment without any charges,” he said.

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