[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
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.