For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Brenda Bowser Soder
bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460

Rights Group Criticizes Uigher Ruling, Urges Resettlement in US

WASHINGTON - Human Rights First
regrets the D.C. Circuit Court's ruling today that the district court
lacked authority to order the release into the United States of 17
Chinese Uighers currently detained at Guantanamo. But the ruling does not preclude the possibility of resettling the Uighers on U.S. soil, says the group.

"This
decision puts into stark relief the human costs of the Bush
Administration's misguided Guantanamo policies, and underscores the
urgency for the new administration to act to set it right," said Elisa Massimino, CEO and Executive Director of Human Rights First. "These men were wrongly detained at Guantanamo
for nearly seven years despite the lack of any evidence of their
involvement with al Qaeda or the Taliban, or that they engaged in any
conduct suggesting ill will toward the United States.
There is no evidence that they pose a security threat, and if the US
Supreme Court's decision establishing the constitutional right of
detainees to challenge their detention in a court of law means anything
at all, then justice requires their release."

"President Obama is unlikely to succeed in closing Guantanamo
without the cooperation of other countries. And that cooperation
depends in part on a demonstrated willingness to chart a new course,"
said Massimino. "The executive orders were a first step toward
signaling this change.  Resettling the Uighers in the United States would send another important message, increasing the likelihood that other countries will accept some Guantanamo prisoners themselves."

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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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