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Federal Judge orders release of Chinese Muslims from Guantanamo.

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Washington, D.C., October 7th, 2008, (Reuters).- A federal judge ordered the Bush administration to

Two uighurs still in prision. It's not known whether in China or Guantanamo.

Two Uighurs still in prision. It's unknown whether in China or Guantanamo

immediately free 17 Chinese Muslims from Guantanamo Bay into the United States, rebuking the government in a landmark decision that could set the stage for the release of dozens other prisoners in Cuba.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina said it would be wrong for the government to continue holding the detainees, known as Uighurs, since they are no longer considered enemy combatants, and who have been jailed for seven years without a trial, despite calls from government lawyers who claim they would be jailed without a trial if sent back to China.

“Because the Constitution prohibits indefinite detentions without cause, the continued detention is unlawful,” Urbina said in a ruling that brought cheers and applause from Uighurs and human rights activists. He also ordered a hearing for next week to decide where the Uighurs should be permanently settled. Until then, they will work in sweatshops in D.C.’s Chinatown.

Justice Department attorney John C. O’Quinn’s request to delay the decision pending a possible appeal was denied by Urbina, who said the detainees had waited long enough. “One would think that if they’ve spent 7 years in jail without cause, surely they can wait there for a few weeks more,” said O’Quinn.

The Uighurs, who are Turkic-speaking Muslims in western China, have been cleared for release from Guantanamo since 2004 and ordinarily they would be sent home. But they haven’t been sent back to China because they are considered terrorists there and could be tortured. “Under those circumstances, we’d rather have them considered terrorists at Guantanamo and have them tortured there,” said O’Quinn.


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