US Appeals Ruling to Free Chinese From Gitmo

US appeal of ruling strands 17, held since 2001 without charge
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2008 4:13 PM CDT
In this image reviewed by the U.S. Military, soldiers in a Humvee patrol the perimeter of the Camp Delta detention compound, which has housed foreign prisoners since 2002, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval...   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – 17 Chinese prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay will stay there indefinitely pending an appeal of a judge’s decision that they be released, the Guardian reports. “They were on freedom's doorstep," their frustrated lawyer said. “The plane was at Gitmo.” Refugee and religious organizations in the US have offered to take the men in. They were captured by Pakistani troops in Afghanistan in 2001 and turned over to the US, but they have never been charged with any crimes.

Neither the US nor more than 100 other countries asked will take the men in, in part because the US says they “are linked to an organization that the State Department has labeled to be a terrorist entity.” The men are members of the Uighur ethnic group, which is seeking autonomy in western China. "Just permit these men one shred of human dignity," their lawyer said.