Judge Orders 17 Gitmo Inmates Freed

Major blow to White House as judge refers to nation's 'founding principle'
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2008 3:20 AM CDT
A detainee stands in a doorway to a cell at Guantanamo Bay. A federal judge has ordered 17 detainees released and allowed into the US.   (AP Photo/Randall Mikkelsen, Pool)
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(Newser) – In a huge blow to the Bush administration a federal judge has ordered the immediate release of 17 Chinese Muslims who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for seven years, reports the Washington Post. He said the men must be released to volunteer Uighur families by Friday for possible resettlement in the Washington area. The judge quoted the core principles of the Constitution, noting that the government offered no proof that they were enemy combatants or a threat to the US.

It was the first time a US judge has ordered the release of a detainee held at the facility. The US government had cleared the men for release, but couldn't send them to China because the Chinese government considers them terrorists and might torture them. Their attorneys say the men, who trained in a camp run by an organization later declared a terrorist group, have no conflict with the US.