Nury Turkel: Uighur Justice

Mr. Turkel is a lawyer and former president of the Uyghur American Association. He wrote the following OP-ED for the Wall Street Journal on the fate of detained in the US War on Terror:

The controversy over the right of habeas corpus for U.S. terror detainees has obscured the fact that the legal process put in place by Congress for settling other detainee appeals has been quietly at work. On Monday, an appeals court hearing one such case found that Huzaifa Parhat, a Uighur from China, was not an “enemy combatant.” The court ordered the military to release him, transfer him to another prison or hold a new hearing.

Mr. Parhat and the 16 other Uighurs currently detained in Guantánamo have all been cleared for release by the U.S. military. Congress is also supportive. On June 4, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D., MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R., CA) proposed resettlement for them in the U.S. The two Congressmen have also petitioned Defense Secretary Robert Gates for assistance.

Resettling these detainees might not be simple, but after their six years of detention, it is the right thing to do. Uighurs are an ethnic Turkic people who live in China’s vast northwest regions. The 17 Guantánamo Uighurs were captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many were snared by bounty hunters and sold to the U.S. military. Some of these Uighurs may admittedly be fighters. But they have no beef with the U.S. or its allies — their fight is against China.

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