[QODLink]
Americas
Guantanamo Uighurs to stay in jail
US federal appeals court blocks release of 17 Muslim Uighurs held in Guantanamo.
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2008 05:36 GMT
The 17 men have been held in Guantanamo without charge for almost seven years [EPA]

A US federal appeals court has refused to allow the immediate release into the US of 17 Muslim Uighurs from western China being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In a split 2-1 decision on Monday, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit sided with government lawyers who had argued against the men being released while they prepare a full appeal.

The decision overrules a federal judge's order on October 7 releasing the men and means they will be kept in Guantanamo for at least several more weeks.

The 17 have been held at the US military detention camp on Cuba for nearly seven years.

The men were captured in Afghanistan where they said they were sheltering from repression from Chinese authorities in their home region of Xinjiang.

The US government has said it no longer considers the men enemy combatants and has given no evidence that they pose a security risk.

It is thought to be trying to find new homes for the men in third countries, having apparently accepted their claims that they face torture or possible execution if they are returned to China.

China has said it considers the men to be terrorists.

Albania agreed to accept five Uighur detainees in 2006 but has refused to take more, partly because of fears of a diplomatic backlash from offending China.

'No evidence'

The two judges who voted to block the Uighurs' immediate release were both appointees of the first President Bush, while Judge Judith W. Rogers, who was appointed by President Clinton, argued that the detainees should be freed.

In a stern four page statement she noted that the Bush administration continued to argue the detainees were a national security risk based on little more than the fact they had admitted to receiving weapons training in Afghanistan.

"The fact that petitioners received firearms training cannot alone show they are dangerous, unless millions of United States resident citizens who have received firearms training are to be deemed dangerous as well," Rogers wrote.

"And, in any event, the district court found there is no evidence petitioners harbour hostility toward the United States."

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
EU's poorest member state is struggling to cope with an influx of mostly war-weary Syrian refugees.
Study says tipping point reached as poachers kill 7 percent of African elephants annually; birth rate is 5 percent.
Zimbabwe's leader given rotating chairmanship of 15-member nation bloc a year after he won disputed presidential polls.
join our mailing list