Court Blocks Release of 17 Gitmo Prisoners Into US

By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 18, 2009 3:07 PM CST
An ethnic Chinese Uighur leader speaks about the Uighurs detained in Guantanamo outside the federal court in Washington in November.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce ceneta)
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(Newser) – The fate of 17 Chinese Muslims imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2002 remains in flux after the DC Circuit Court of Appeals blocked their release to the US today. That reverses a lower court ruling that said the prisoners—members of the Uighur ethnic group who are no longer considered enemy combatants—should be released to the temporary care of Washington-area residents, the Washington Post reports.

The ruling today faulted the original decision. "Never in the history of habeas corpus has any court thought it had the power to order an alien held overseas brought into the sovereign territory of a nation and released into the general population." The US, meanwhile, is trying to find another nation willing to take the detainees. Their attorney called today's reversal "one of the darkest days in the history of our judiciary."