Gates defends plan to accept Chinese detainees in US
05/02/09: The LA Times reports that Defense Secretary Gates said that he expected staunch opposition in Congress to the Obama administration's plans to release some of the Chinese Muslims detained at Guantanamo into the United States. Confirming the plans for the first time, Gates said that the administration intended to release some of the 17 Chinese Uighurs into the US as part of the process of closing the prison, although he added that a final decision had not been made. Gates said the Uighurs would face persecution if they were returned to China, as Beijing has demanded.
04/30/09: The New York Times reports that Defense Secretary Gates suggested today that as many as 100 detainees at the prison at Guantanamo Bay would end up housed on American soil. At a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mr. Gates said that he has asked for $50 million in a supplemental request to this year’s Pentagon budget in case a new cell block needs to be built quickly for the detainees. The Wall Street Journal also covers the story.
04/24/09: The Los Angeles Times reports that the Obama administration is preparing to admit into the United States as many as seven Chinese Muslims who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in the first release of any of the detainees into this country, according to current and former U.S. officials. Administration officials also believe that settling some of them in American communities will set an example, helping to persuade other nations to accept Guantanamo detainees too.
04/19/09: Der Spiegel reports on the life of Abu Bakker Qassim, a Uighur held at Guantanamo for four years before he was released and accepted by Albania. Albanian newspapers have reported that Albania accepted Qassim to repay their debt to the US for supporting Kosovo's independence, and possibly to gain admission to NATO.
04/11/09: SCOTUSBlog reports that the D.C. Circuit Court, relying on its recent ruling that is now being challenged in the Supreme Court, refused on Friday to hold Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in contempt of court for failing to bring about the release of 17 Guantanamo Bay detainees.
04/08/09: The Washington Independent reports on the cert. petition the Uighurs detainees at Guantanamo filed a petition with the Supreme Court Monday. The petition challenges a lower court ruling that said US courts could not order innocent Guantanamo detainees released into the United States, on the theory that to deny this power to the US courts is to render meaningless the detainees' habeas corpus right, a right affirmed under Boumediene v. Bush.
04/06/09: SCOTUSBlog reports that the first test of the Obama Administration’s detention policy to reach the Supreme Court was filed today, Kiyemba v. Obama. The case could shape the future of 17 Chinese Muslim prisoners still at Guantanamo Bay although cleared for release, but its impact could reach far wider. The question presented is "Whether a federal court exercising its habeas jurisdiction, as confirmed by Boumediene v. Bush,…has no power to order the release of prisoners held by the Executive for seven years, where the Executive detention is indefinite and without authorization in law, and release into the continental United States is the only possible effective remedy." The cert. petition is here, and the D.C. Circuit Court ruling being challenged is here.
04/01/09: The New York Times reports that the Uighurs have become something of a Guantánamo Rorschach test: hapless refugees to some, dangerous plotters to others. For the Obama administration, the task of determining which of those portraits is correct and whether the men can be released inside the United States has raised the stakes for the president’s plan to close the Guantánamo prison. Either choice is likely to provoke intense reaction.
04/01/09: The New York Times also has a debate about the Uighurs between Jenny Martinez of Stanford Law School, Andrew McCarthy of the National Review Institute, Glenn Sulmasy of the US Coast Guard Academy, Diane Marie Amann of the University of California at Davis Law School and Deborah Colson of Human Rights First.
04/01/09: The Miami Herald reports that the Obama administration on Tuesday dispatched members of a detainee review team here to speak directly with 17 captives from China who were swept up in the war on terror and ultimately cleared of being enemies of America.
03/28/09: Andy Worthington has posted a letter from one of the Uighurs in Albania who was previously at Guantanamo Bay, and provides insight into the Uighurs' experience and offers suggestions to the Obama Administration on how do deal with the remaining 17 Uighur detainees. "It is three years since I left the prison, and still they are there. Please end their suffering soon. Your January 22 words were so welcome to us, and I congratulate you for that and for your historic election. But many months have passed."
03/21/09: SCOTUSBlog reports that lawyers on Friday asked a federal appeals court to hold Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in contempt for doing nothing to free the Uighurs — in one case, for nine months. The prior orders, the motions said, gave Gates “three options for compliance,” but “he was not given the option of refusing to comply with any of them.” The question raised now, the filings added, “is whether the Secretary of Defense must comply with the order of an Article III court, or whether — as he has done for almost nine months [in one of the Uighur cases] — he may ignore an order at his pleasure.”
03/19/09: The Associated Press reports that some Chinese Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay could be released in the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday. During an interview with reporters, Holder was asked whether members of a group of Uighurs at the U.S. military detention facility in Cuba could be released on American soil. HT to How Appealing.
03/16/09: SCOTUSBlog features a piece by Lyle Denniston in which he writes that, "As a team of lawyers ponders what to do next for 17 detainees who won a release order more than five months ago but still are confined at Guantanamo Bay, a federal appeals court decision blocking their actual release is having a spreading impact. In the process, it is becoming a key factor in the Obama Administration’s legal policy on detainees."
03/10/09: SCOTUSBlog reports on Judge Walton's comments in two of the Guantanamo habeas cases before him, stating that if a detainee is cleared for release, the court may no longer have jurisdiction over the case and it may be dismissed. This would potentially apply to detainees who are found eligible for release but are not re-settled through diplomatic efforts.
02/26/09: The New York Times reports on the situation of 20 Guantanamo detainees, who remain imprisoned at the base, albeit under less harsh conditions, despite court rulings that they are not enemy combatants. The detainees include Lakhdar Boumediene and the 17 Uighurs.
02/24/09: Radio Free Asia reports that Sabin Willet, lawyer for the 17 Uighurs currently held at Guantanamo Bay prison, has indicated he intends to appeal the ruling before the D.C. Circuit that said it was not for the courts to decide whether or not the Uighurs can be released from the prison.
02/23/09: The Los Angeles Times editorial board argues that the Obama administration should exercise its executive authority to free the 17 Uighurs currently held at Guantanamo Bay and resettle them in the United States.
02/23/09: Law professor Steve Vladeck argues on National Security Advisors that the opinion issued by A. Raymond Randolph, senior circuit judge for the D.C. Circuit, in the case of Kiyemba v. Obama, might be cert.-worthy either for en banc review by the D.C. Circuit or to be argued before the Supreme Court, because of Randolph's questionable analysis.
02/19/09: Jurist reports that Sweden's Migration Court on Wednesday granted asylum to former Uighur Guantanamo Bay detainee Adil Hakimjan, also known as Adel Abdu Al-Hakim. The decision overruled a previous ruling by the Swedish Migration Board denying Hakimjan asylum. Hakimjan, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years, was one of five Uighurs released in 2006 who were granted asylum in Albania. Hakimjan had applied for asylum in Sweden because he has a sister living there. The court cited the family relationship, the humanitarian nature of the request, and Hakimjan's detention at Guantanamo Bay as reasons for granting him residence as a refugee.
02/19/09: The Miami Herald reports that on Thursday, China once again said that the United States should hand over 17 Chinese Muslims cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, amid long-standing efforts by Washington to resettle the detainees elsewhere.
02/18/09: SCOTUSblog reports that in Kiyemba v. Obama, the DC Circuit ruled that a District Court judge had no authority to order the 17 Chinese Muslim Uighurs being held at Guantanamo released into the US. The ruling overturned a decision last October by a federal judge, who ruled that release into this country was the only option since the government no longer considered them to be “enemy combatants” and they could not safely be returned to their homeland in China. The Court held 2-1 that only the political branches have the authority to decide when aliens may enter the US; Judge Rogers found that the District Court's release order was premature. The opinion is here.
02/05/09: The Miami Herald reports that Beijing warned other countries on Thursday not to accept Chinese Muslim detainees released from the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, reiterating a long-standing demand that they be returned to China. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu did not mention Canada directly, but said China was "against any country accepting these people."
02/04/09: The Miami Herald and Jurist report that six Guantanamo detainees, including three Uighurs, are seeking refugee status in Canada with the support of Canadian sponsors. The Uighurs were cleared of their enemy combatant status last year by a DC federal district court judge.
01/24/09: SCOTUSBlog reports that lawyers for 17 Guantanamo Bay detainees who are members of a long-persecuted Chinese Muslim minority urged leaders of the new Obama Administration on Friday to order the immediate release of the prisoners, to live at least temporarily in the U.S. The plea was made in a letter to Attorney General-designate Eric H. Holder, Jr., Acting Attorney General Mark R. Filip, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
01/09/09: The Australian reports that the Aussie government denied a request from the Bush administration to resettle 17 Uighurs locked up at GTMO after warnings from Beijing not to take the former terror suspects. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has maintained that the detainees be repatriated to China and has opposed any other country from receiving them.
12/25/08: The Miami Herald reports on the future prospects of the 17 Uighurs currently detained at Guantanamo's Camp Iguana. Though some religious groups and Uighur communities based in the United States have offered to resettle the Uighurs, U.S. government opposition to resettlement in the U.S., failed attempts by the U.S. government to resettle the Uighurs elsewhere, and growing infrastructure at Camp Iguana such as plans to construct a soccer field, suggest that the prisoners' prospects for leaving Guantanamo in the near future are at best uncertain.
12/23/08: The Miami Herald reports that the Chinese government said Tuesday it wants Chinese citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay returned to China, if President-elect Obama decides to close Guantanamo. There are 17 known Chinese prisoners at Guantanamo, all Uighur. China says the 17 prisoners are terrorists who belong to an outlawed group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
11/27/08: The Washington Post features an editorial arguing that, as the U.S. has managed to release Salim Hamdan, bin Laden's driver, it is time to release the 17 Chinese Muslim Uighurs from Guantanamo. It notes that Hamdan was actually convicted of providing material support to al-Qaeda whereas the Uighurs have been cleared for release and are no longer classified as enemy combatants.
11/23/08: SCOTUS Blog reports that this week the D.C. Circuit Court will hold a hearing to review a judge’s order to release 17 Uighurs from Guantanamo into the U.S. Also, another District judge will hold a hearing on the government’s obligation to respond to a claim that a detainee was sent by the U.S. to Morocco where he would be tortured.
11/19/08: SCOTUSBlog provides a primer on the upcoming Guantanamo habeas cases before the U.S. District Courts, including Kiyemba v. Bush, where a three-judge panel will review Judge Urbina's decision to require that 17 Chinese Uighurs held at Guantanamo be brought to the U.S. to live, at least temporarily.11/15/2008: SCOTUSblog reports that the D.C. Circuit will not review en banc the case of 17 whom the U.S. government is trying to keep out of the United States, which means the case is likely to be heard by a three-judge panel.
11/07/08: SCOTUSblog discusses the Justice Department's final filing to the D.C. Circuit Court justifying its indefinite detention of - and refusal to allow into the country - the 17 Uighurs held at GTMO, even though they are no longer considered enemies combatants. The government argued, "even if the detention is indefinite, it is still lawful." The oral hearing for the case is scheduled for November 24. The government's brief can be found here.
11/01/08: SCOTUSBlog reports that lawyers for 17 Guantanamo Bay prisoners on Friday filed a new plea for the full ten-judge D.C. Circuit Court to rule on the courts’ power to order release of detainees no longer considered enemies. At the same time, they argued that the President and his aides are seeking to put any remedy for detainees out of reach so as to gain a “blank check” to hold them indefinitely, perhaps for life.
10/26/08: SCOTUSBlog reports that attorneys for the 17 Chinese Muslim Uighurs held in Guantanamo will file a brief on their petition to be released and temporarily allowed to reside in the United States until their cases are decided. See the most recent article on the Uighurs' situation here.
10/24/08: SCOTUSBlog reports that the D.C. Circuit Court has denied an en banc review of the three judge panel decision which postponed the release of the remaining 17 Uighurs detained at Guantanamo into the United States. There were two dissents, and the majority made no comment on its decision.
10/21/08: SCOTUSblog reports that the 17 Uighurs held at Guantanamo, fearing the adverse effects of an additional year of imprisonment at the facility, are seeking an en banc review of their case before the D.C. Circuit. CNN reports on the case here.
10/21/08: SCOTUSblog reports that in a split decision, the D.C. Circuit barred the transfer of 17 Guantanamo detainees to the US, where they were to be released, at least until November. The Washington Post reports on the ruling here.
10/17/08: Georgetown Law Professor Marty Lederman boils down the DOJ argument in its reply brief in the Uighur cases to this: "we wouldn't have a legal justification for indefinitely detaining these prisoners at GTMO . . . except that we have already unlawfully detained them for six-plus years at GTMO, which has made them a threat to the safety of the United States."
10/16/08: The New York Times reports that Bush administration efforts to find a country that will accept 17 detainees held at Guantanamo has stalled because of bitter disagreement in the administration over whether the detainees are dangerous.
10/16/08: Georgetown Law Professor Marty Lederman assesses the strength of DOJ's arguments that the 17 Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay, if released, would pose a threat to the public at large.
10/15/08: SCOTUSblog reports that a new opposition brief to the government's motion for stay of Judge Urbina's order to have appear before the court the 17 Uighurs detained at Gitmo has been filed. The brief alleges that the government has relinquished any claims that the detainees present a threat if brought to the US. The opposition brief is here. The government will file its reply brief on Thursday.
10/15/08: Editorials in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe argue that the Uighurs should be released.
10/12/08: An editorial in the New York Times criticizes the Bush administration's treatment of the Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay and its challenge of the D.C. District Court's order to allow them to be released into the United States. National Security Advisors has posted the texts of the Circuit Court's stay order and Judge Urbina's release order here.
10/11/08: SCOTUSblog discusses the government's brief seeking a stay of the D.C. District Court's order to have appear before the Court the 17 Uighurs detained at Guantanamo Bay. The government's motion for stay can be found here.
10/11/08: Dahlia Lithwick of Slate criticizes the Bush administration's policies governing detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, especially its handling of the 17 Uighurs detained at the base. She notes that the rules pertaining to detainees at Gitmo appear to have been applied to two military prisoners suspected of terrorist ties held at military bases in Virginia and South Carolina. In addition, she speculates that if the next presidential administration closes the base, the remaining prisoners will likely be transferred to the US for legal proceedings.
10/10/08: A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman held a press conference yesterday and demanded that the Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay be repatriated immediately. He maintained the Chinese government's position that once the Uighurs were handed over, they would face legal proceedings. HT Jurist.
10/10/08: In an opinion piece, the Wall Street Journal criticizes the recent ruling of a federal judge ordering the release of 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay. The article also takes issue with the recent Supreme Court decision holding that detainees at Guantanamo have a right to habeas corpus review.
10/09/08: The Washington Post reports that the DC Circuit has stayed a judge's order that the government must release 17 Chinese Muslims held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, into the United States at the request of the Justice Department. The order from the DC Circuit is here. The panel consists of Judges Randolph, Rogers, and Henderson. Briefing is ordered to be completed by October 16, 2008. The New York Times, CNN, and the Jurist cover the story as well. HT to SCOTUSblog.
10/08/08: The New York Times reports that 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.
* SCOTUSBlog discusses the D.C. Circuit Court’s block of the 17 Uighur detainees. SCOTUSBlog states that the order said it was issuing a stay only to give it more time to consider the Bush Administration’s not-yet-filed plea for a delay of the entry until it can pursue a full appeal. The Court said its order “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits” of the issue of a longer delay pending the appeal.
* SCOTUSBlog reports that the Uighur attorneys filed an emergency motion, seeking to get an appeal panel that has already shown skepticism toward the government’s handling of Chinese Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The lawyers for those 17 prisoners asked the D.C. Circuit Court on Wednesday to assign those same three judges to hear the Bush Administration’s new appeal on the captives’ legal rights.
* SCOTUSBlog reports that the Justice Department, in an emergency filing Tuesday night, asked the D.C. Circuit Court to act by no later than Thursday, 10/9/08 on its request for an emergency stay blocking Judge Urbina's order that 17 Uighur detainees at Guantanamo Bay be transported to Washington, D.C., this week. The Department said action within the next day was necessary “in order for the government to seek an emergency stay from the Supreme Court, if necessary.”
* The New York Times continued its reporting of Judge Urbina’s order to release 17 Guantanamo Bay detainees today.
* The Washington Post reports that Judge Urbina’s ruling was the first time a U.S. judge has ordered the release of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, and the first time a foreign national held at the facility in Cuba has been ordered transferred to the United States.
* The Washington Post also reports that D.C. area families are ready to receive the Uighur detainees upon their release.
* The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina said that the government's authority to hold the men had "ceased" and that they were entitled to be released.
* The Wall Street Journal states that the Uighur case could presage the final act in the years-long power struggle between the Bush administration and the courts over which branch should decide the fate of prisoners captured in counterterrorism operations.
* SCOTUSBlog posted the transcript of Tuesday’s hearing, including Judge Urbina’s oral ruling.
10/07/08: Ruling from the bench, Judge Urbina today ordered all 17 Uighurs held at Guantanamo released into the United States. Coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, and SCOTUSblog.
10/05/08: The Washington Post reports that the Uighurs held in Guantanamo could be released into the U.S. Judge Urbina, who is considering their detention in a series of hearings, may decide to release the detainees into the U.S. because there is no other country who will accept them and they have been taken off of the enemy combatant list.
10/02/08: SCOTUSBlog reports that the Justice Department has taken all of the Uighurs held in Guantanamo Bay off of the enemy combatant list. The Justice Department's filing with the District Court on Tuesday night said that the Uighurs would continue to be held at Guantanamo as efforts to send them to a foreign country continued. Lawyers for the Uighurs will petition the Court to re-locate their clients to the Washington are until a suitable foreign country can be found for resettlement.
09/29/08: A Chicago Tribune article discusses the situation of Huzaifa Parhat, a Uighur who is being held in Guantanamo Bay. Although the US government has decided that he poses no terrorist threat, it will not allow him into the United States, it cannot deport him to China for fear that he will be tortured, and no other country will accept him.
09/12/08: SCOTUSblog reports that four of the 17 Uighurs detained on Guantanamo Bay have asked Judge Urbina to bring them to D.C. to attend a hearing on October 7, 2008. The hearing involves a motion for parole of the Uighurs into the U.S. pending final resolution of their cases; they have all been cleared for release. The motion also asks for much broader access to the Uighurs, both those possibly brought to D.C. and those who would participate from Guantanamo via video-link or telephone, in advance of the October 7 hearing. In the cases he is handling, Judge Leon has stated that detainees will participate by phone in the cases assigned to him.
09/4/08: SCOTUSblog discusses the denial of a rehearing petition filed by the Justice Department a month ago in Parhat v. Gates.
08/23/08: SCOTUSblog discusses how the US government is using the Parhat case to test their theory that the US government has very broad constitutional authority — beyond the reach of the courts — to “wind up” (or “wind down”) the process of detention in a way that would mean that individual detainees would remain for extended periods at Guantanamo in a kind of legal limbo.
08/23/08: The Washington Post has an editorial advocating asylum for Huzaifa Parhat.
08/5/08: SCOTUSblog discusses the government's resistance to the motion filed by Parhat for release into the US.
07/26/08: SCOTUSblog discusses Huzaifa Parhat's motion for a federal judge to order the Pentagon to free him immediately.
07/07/08: CNN and the New York Times cover and SCOTUSblog and Intel Dump discuss the newly-released ruling behind the June 20 acquittal of Huzaifa Parhat, in which the court ruled that individuals cannot be labeled as enemies of the U.S. based on “bare assertions” not supported by “independent sources” that would make the claims reliable.
06/23/08: The D.C. Circuit Court ruled on Friday that Huzaifa Parhat, a Uighur held at Guantanamo, was wrongly designated an enemy combatant by a military panel. The court ordered that he be released, transferred out of Guantanamo, or given a speedy new Pentagon review of the question of whether he is an enemy combatant. SCOTUSblog has details and analysis
Thread: Uighurs at Guantanamo