A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the release of 17 Chinese-born Muslims detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba , a day after a landmark decision required them to be freed to the U.S....Show of hands — who do you believe?
..."Seventeen men were told yesterday that they were going to be released after nearly seven years of wrongful detention," said Emi MacLean , an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights , which coordinates the representation of detainees including the Uighurs. "Now, they have to be told that their detention will continue to be indefinite."
The Uighurs are among a group of more than 60 men inside the prison who've been cleared for release by the military but who are stuck in limbo because the U.S. government can't find a country to ship them to. The Uighurs say they can't return to China because they'll be tortured as political dissidents.
Urbina's decision marked the first time a court had ordered the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. and could have prompted the release of others who've been cleared by the military.
Urbina declared the continued detention of the Uighurs to be "unlawful" and said the government could no longer detain them after conceding they weren't enemy combatants.
However, Justice Department lawyers continued to argue that the release of the group into the U.S. could pose a security risk and warned that the decision could harm international relations with China.
In court papers, Justice Department lawyers attacked Urbina's ruling, warning in court papers of "serious harms to the government and the public at large" if the appeals court did not intervene.
The lawyers said that Urbina's decision "directly conflicts with the basic principle" that the executive branch, specifically the Department of Homeland Security , has sole discretion as to whether to admit foreigners into the U.S. The Justice Department also raised security concerns about releasing men they say were captured at a weapons training camp run by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Uighurs attorneys disputed that characterization, saying the men merely were living in a small village in Afghanistan where they'd kept one weapon, but lacked ammunition.
Maybe I'm cynical.