Judge Orders 17 Detainees at Guantnamo Freed
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: October 10th, 2008
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Bush administration to release 17 detainees at Guantnamo Bay by the end of the week, the first such ruling in nearly seven years of legal disputes over the administrations detention policies. The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court, ordered that the 17 men be brought to his courtroom on Friday from the prison at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, where they have been held since 2002. He indicated that he would release the men, members of the restive Uighur Muslim minority in western China, into the care of supporters in the United States, initially in the Washington area. I think the moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for detention, Judge Urbina said. Saying the men had never fought the United States and were not a security threat, he tersely rejected Bush administration claims that he lacked the power to order the men set free in the United States and government requests that he stay his order to permit an immediate appeal. The ruling was a sharp setback for the administration, which has waged a long legal battle to defend its policies of detention at the naval base at Guantnamo Bay, arguing a broad executive power in waging war. Federal courts up to the Supreme Court have waded through detention questions and in several major cases the courts have rejected administration contentions. The government recently conceded that it would no longer try to prove that the Uighurs were enemy combatants, the classification it uses to detain people at Guantnamo, where 255 men are now held.
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