Today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, 17 uighur men detained and imprisoned for seven years, first in Afghanistan and then in Guantanamo Bay were ordered to be freed and released to the U.S. Judge Ricardo Urbina rejected the government's argument that the men, all of whom were declared non-enemy combatants four years ago should remain detained against their wills in a state of legal limbo.
Judge Urbina ordered the immediate release of all the men, and scheduled a hearing for Friday at 10 a.m. to discuss the details of the men's acclimation to living inside the U.S.
Uighurs are an Islamic ethnic group residing in western China. Many want to separate from the Chinese regime and form their own homeland. For this reason, China does not want their return, nor do many of them wish to return due to the likelihood that they would be imprisoned and tortured for their beliefs. A small uighur community will house the men for a temporary period in the Washington Metro area. Attorneys presented a representative from Lutheran Refugee Services and others who will assist with a more permanent placement of most of the men in Tallahassee, Florida where a large and vibrant uighur community resides.
In his oral opinion, Urbina said the government failed to provide any logical argument for the men's continued imprisonment in Guantanamo. He also said that continuing to hold men no longer deemed enemy combatants and without charge was unlawful.