No charges but US may never release Guantánamo Chinese

Discussion in 'Politics' started by edonline, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. edonline

    Gold Member

    Feb 25, 2007
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    No charges but US may never release Guantnamo Chinese | World news | The Guardian

    No charges but US may never release Guantánamo Chinese

    Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor
    The Guardian, Saturday November 1 2008

    Seventeen Chinese prisoners who have been held for nearly seven years in Guantánamo Bay will be informed on Monday that they could spend the rest of their lives behind bars, even though they face no charges and have been told by a judge they should be freed.

    No country is willing to accept them and the US justice department has now blocked moves for them to be allowed to go to the US mainland, where they had been offered a home by refugee and Christian organisations.

    The men's lawyer, Sabin Willett, is flying to Guantánamo Bay this weekend to break the news to the men, who are members of the Uighur ethnic group seeking autonomy from China. In a blunt and angry letter to justice department lawyers, Willett spelled out what he thought of the way the men had been treated.

    "After years of stalling and staying and appellate gamesmanship, you pleaded no contest - they are not enemy combatants," Willett has written. "You have never charged them with any crime."

    Last month a federal judge ruled that the men should be freed. "They were on freedom's doorstep," said Willett. "The plane was at Gitmo. The stateside Lutheran refugee services and the Uighur families and Tallahassee clergy were ready to receive them." However, the justice department appealed against the ruling and Willett claims this will put the men into a potentially endless limbo.

    Yesterday Willett said his clients were "saddened" by the latest events. The men, who are Muslims, were in Afghanistan in 2001 and were captured by Pakistani troops and handed over to the US. So far, more than 100 countries have been asked to take them as refugees but none have agreed. Willett blamed US authorities for incorrectly describing them as terrorists.

    According to the US justice department, the men "are linked to an organisation that the state department has labelled to be a terrorist entity, and it is beside the point that the organisation is not 'a threat to us' because the law excluding members of such groups does not require such proof."

    Willett is also angry the defence department will not agree to let him meet his clients unless they are chained to the floor. He called for this restriction to be lifted: "Just permit these men one shred of human dignity." He added: "Americans are not supposed to treat enemy prisoners of war this way under the service field manuals, or the Geneva conventions - if anyone paid attention to the field manuals or the Geneva conventions anymore."
  2. cocktoberfest

    cocktoberfest New Member

    May 12, 2007
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    United States
    This story is very brief and does not go into any detail about the men's background or why they left china for afganistan. Yet, its hard for me to understand why I should care about them considering 100 other countries don't want them either. more information anyone?
  3. D_Fiona_Farvel

    D_Fiona_Farvel Account Disabled

    Nov 27, 2007
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    As I understand, Chinese Muslims are an ethnic minority, were persecuted and some migrated out of China. They were picked up by mercenaries and sold to the U.S., which, unfortunately, is the same story for a few Guantanamo detainees.

    I'm pretty sure China tried to get them back a few years ago. But, if they had been, they certainly would have been imprisoned, if not killed, upon their return.

    Jstor has some great journals available for reference.

    Anyway, sad story.
    I care because no one should be imprisoned absent a crime, but have no idea what would be the best option for them. They deserve to be free.
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