Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case of Uighur Detainees

A Supreme Court case originally planned for April to decide the fate of the remaining Uighur detainees at will not take place. From the New York Times:

The seven, captured in Afghanistan in 2001, have been determined to pose no threat to the United States, but the government and the courts have not determined whether the men could be released into the United States, as they had requested. The court on Monday sent the case back to the lower courts.

With other countries having said recently that they would accept the detainees, the justices said on Monday in an unsigned three-paragraph decision that factual developments since it agreed to hear the case in October “may affect the legal issues presented.”

The case involves prisoners at Guantanamo from the largely Muslim Uighur region of western China who have been cleared of any charges against the United States. They do not want to be returned to China, where they are considered terrorists and where they fear torture or execution.

The question the court agreed to hear in October was whether a federal judge in Washington had the power to order the men released into the United States.

Judge Ricardo M. Urbina, the trial judge in the case, acknowledged that the case involves a difficult separation-of-powers question. But he said indefinite imprisonment in the circumstances was not constitutionally permissible.

Read more about the Uighurs in Guantanamo Bay via CDT.

March 1, 2010 11:34 AM
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