March 1, 2010, New York – Today, the Supreme Court announced it will not immediately review the appeals court decision in a case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Kiyemba v. Obama, which opposes the barring the release of 13 innocent Uighur men, 7 of whom remain imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay into the United States.
The decision by the Supreme Court to not hear the case of the thirteen Uighur prisoners who have been detained since 2002 is a major missed opportunity to reinforce and support the role of the judiciary in constitutional decisions involving national security. The Court had the chance to clarify and reinforce its decision in Boumediene v. Bush, holding that the writ of habeas corpus must be effective, but instead sent the case back to the lower courts. The impact of the delay will be to prolong the indefinite imprisonment of people who have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
We welcome the Supreme Court's vacatur of the appeals court decision, which no longer stands as an obstacle to meaningful and effective habeas relief for Guantánamo detainees. But we regret that the Supreme Court's decision not to review the merits of the case at this time will mean more delay for our clients.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for over eight years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with a former CIA “ghost detainee” there. CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country in order to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle the approximately 60 men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.