Hearing on Parole for Innocent Uighurs held at Guantanamo - Washington, DC

Date 

Add to My Calendar Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Location 

For the first time on Tuesday, October 7, 2008, a federal court will consider the potential parole of 17 innocent Uighur men who were falsely detained at Guantánamo Bay for over six long years. The Uighur people have been, and continue to be, brutally oppressed by the Chinese government. The 17 Guantanamo prisoners left China amid increasing political oppression and found their way to Afghanistan, where they established a small Uighur village. In late 2001, the entire village was forced to flee the U.S. aerial bombardment of the surrounding area. Eventually, they were able to make their way to Pakistan, thinking they would be safer there with the war raging on and their village insecure. After crossing into Pakistan, the Uighurs were welcomed and fed by Pakistani villagers – who promptly betrayed them in return for the generous bounties that the United States offered for "helping the anti-Taliban forces."

Even the government concedes that these men are not "enemy combatants" and has cleared them for release. However, if sent back to China, these 17 men will face severe persecution and even imprisonment; consequently the government has been looking for a third country to take them. Because of the stigma of their detention at Guantánamo and for fear of offending China, no other country has agreed to accept these men as refugees or asylees, other than the small country of Albania, which accepted 5 Uighur men in 2006. Despite this failure to find a third country to take them, the government claims that the court cannot release them here and, therefore, that these innocent men must stay at Guantanamo indefinitely. Their attorneys are seeking parole, or release, for these innocent men into the United States.

In stunning show of goodwill, 20 leaders from faith-based communities in Tallahassee, Florida, and a network of refugee resettlement agencies and other religious groups have pledged their support with a concrete plan to settle at least 3 of the men in their community.  Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services in the Washington, DC area is prepared to find housing and support for the remaining men, and the Uighur community in Washington, DC has stepped forward as well.

Please join us in the courtroom on Tuesday, October 7 to lend a strong presence in support of the Uighurs and their freedom. The hearing will begin promptly at 10 a.m. at:

Courtroom 30, Annex Building (part of the district courthouse) Sixth Floor at 333 Constitution Avenue N.W. in Washington, DC.

To effectively support the men, please arrive early as courtroom seating is limited-promptness, full attention and respectful silence throughout the hearing are crucial in order to represent to the judge the serious commitment of the U.S. in welcoming these men. Please note that signs, "slogan" t-shirts and buttons are not allowed in the courtroom. Your presence is very important and we hope you can attend and lend your visible support to these men.

Last modified 

October 3, 2008