Update: New post on judge’s decision is here.
Update: CNN reports the Uighurs will be in a Washington DC courtroom this Friday (Hat tip: Blulitespecial)
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s June Boumedienne decision, which gave habeas corpus rights to the Guantanamo prisoners, we’re now getting a new group of jihadists here. The Washington Post reports in Uighur Detainees May Be Released to U.S.:
A federal judge is considering whether to order a group of detainees held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay released into the United States, in what would instantly become a landmark legal decision in the years-long battle over the rights of terrorism suspects there.
The men, a small band of Chinese Muslims who have been held for nearly seven years, are no longer considered enemy combatants by the U.S. government, but they are caught in a well-documented diplomatic bind. Unlike other captives, they cannot be sent to their home country because Beijing considers them terrorists, and they might be tortured. The government released five of the detainees, known as Uighurs (pronounced “WEE-gurz”), to Albania in 2006, but no other country wants to risk offending China by accepting the others.
The Justice Department opposes the move.
But its lawyers have argued in court papers and at hearings that only the president has the authority to allow the men into the country. They also said the judge is barred from ordering their entry if they have ties to terrorist groups.
In court documents, they have contended that one of the men received training from a group that was later determined by the Bush administration to be a terrorist organization. The Justice Department is expected to make the same argument for the other 16 Uighurs, an official said.
“It’s an executive branch matter, and not for some technical reason,” Judry Subar, a Justice Department lawyer, said at the August hearing. “It’s because that goes — particularly in a case like this — to very serious, important and sensitive diplomatic . . . considerations.”
Serious considerations like the war we’re in.
The government has asserted that the Uighurs were members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and trained at camps affiliated with the Taliban or al-Qaeda. The Bush administration designated ETIM a terrorist organization in August 2002, after the Uighurs were taken into custody.
The Uighurs’ attorneys have said the men never took up arms against the United States. And the Uighurs have told military court officials that they are sympathetic to the United States.
Trained with the Taliban or al-Qaeda? I’m sure they’re very sympathetic to the U.S. Andy McCarthy is an attorney who successfully prosecuted the jihadists who bombed the World Trade Center in the 1990s. He comments at National Review’s Corner:
This is the very nightmare scenario I warned about. The courts’ steps are outrageous, but predictable and inevitable. A lot of the blame here, however, goes to the administration and the military. They have long taken the position that radical Islamic ideology is not the problem, and that we need only worry about actively those taking up arms against the United States. They don’t want us to talk about jihad — the better to keep us in the dark about jihadist ideology. Thus, the government rationalizes, the Uighurs are not a threat to us, only to the Chinese. That was all the daylight the judges need to say: OK, then release them in the U.S., since no other country — except China, where they’d be persecuted — will take them. The government’s self-defeating argument is preposterous. Jihadists — and there is not question that the Uighurs are jihadists — do not recognize distinctions based on the Westphalia world of nation-states. In their view, it is Dar al Islam or Dar al Harb: i.e., you are either part of the realm of the Muslims or the realm of war, and the goal is to turn Dar al Harb into Dar al Islam by any means necessary. Releasing trained jihadists into the United States on the theory that their beef is with the Chinese and they have no problem with us would be a delusional act of suicide.
We pointed out a year ago that nobody, even the Canadians, wants the Uighurs.