Support the Freedom of 17 Innocent Men in Guantanamo

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Synopsis

As you may know, in October 2008, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled that the imprisonment of 17 Guantanamo detainees was illegal, and that these men - Uighurs, members of a persecuted Muslim minority in Western China - should be released into the United States. The Uighurs were sold to U.S. forces by bounty hunters. Most of them were cleared by the military of any offense in 2003.

Description

As you may know, in October 2008, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled that the imprisonment of 17 Guantanamo detainees was illegal, and that these men - Uighurs, members of a persecuted Muslim minority in Western China - should be released into the United States. The Uighurs were sold to U.S. forces by bounty hunters. Most of them were cleared by the military of any offense in 2003. In September 2008, the U.S. government formally acknowledged that none of them is an enemy combatant. At present, all three branches of the government have acknowledged that the Uighurs should be released. All 17 have been exonerated by both military and habeas courts, and members of Congress have called for their release to the only place they can go: the United States. Please join us today to take action in support of their freedom.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is joining Witness Against Torture and many other organizations for national call-in days to support the release of the Uighurs, as part of its 100 Days Campaign. Please join us, the Uighurs' attorneys and the human rights community to ask President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to drop the Bush Administration's appeal of Judge Urbina's order.

At the time of Judge Urbina's decision, detailed arrangements to welcome and support the seventeen men had by then been made by religious and refugee organizations. Further commitment of support has been provided by the Uighur community of well established U.S. citizens in the D.C. area.

The Bush administration appealed Judge Urbina's ruling to prevent any release into the U.S. "on their watch." But there was not then, and is not now, any legal basis, any security condition, much less any moral or humane reason, for extending the baseless imprisonment of the Uighurs even a day longer.

PLEASE CALL TODAY
to urge the immediate release of the Uighurs in accord with Judge Urbina's ruling - in particular by urging the Obama Administration and Attorney General Eric Holder to dismiss the appeal and vacate the stay preventing the settlement of the Uighurs in the U.S. Call the White House at 202.456.1111 and Attorney General Holder 202.542.2001 right now.

The Uighurs are not alone. Many other men at Guantanamo need refuge from torture or persecution, which they will face if returned to their home countries. It is not surprising that some of the men still held at Guantanamo would be treated with extreme suspicion if they were returned to their home nations-persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, even executed. Alternative homes for men persistently described for years as "the worst of the worst" have understandably been very difficult to find.

While publicly alleging that it was eager to find suitable places to take in prisoners cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, the Bush Administration kept suggesting behind the scenes that they were very dangerous persons. Moreover, the Chinese Government has forcefully pressured nations strong and weak to deny refuge to these prisoners, who were already vigorously persecuted in China before their detention. So it is exceedingly unlikely that any nation other than the U.S. will accept them.

For the U.S. to welcome these wrongfully detained persons will set an important precedent in this nation and present a significant example for the rest of the world; other nations would then be much more likely to accept prisoners against whom no evidence of wrong-doing has been presented after years of confinement.