For Immediate Release
(202) 580-6922 or
Constitution Project Welcomes Supreme Court's Decision to Hear Uighur Detention Case
WASHINGTON - The Constitution Project welcomes the United States Supreme Court's
decision today that it will hear the case involving the Chinese
Muslims, known as Uighurs, being unlawfully detained at Guantanamo. The
U.S. military and the courts have long recognized that the Uighur
detainees do not pose a threat to the United States, therefore leaving
no legal basis for their continued detention. Federal District Court
Judge Urbina ordered they be released into the United States last
October, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit reversed, deciding that courts lacked the authority to order
such a release. The Uighurs then sought review of their case, Kiyemba v. Obama, by the Supreme Court.
thirteen Uighurs still held at Guantanamo have been detained there for
over seven years now. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have
recognized that they are not "enemy combatants" and have tried to find
countries willing to accept them for resettlement. Since the D.C.
Circuit's decision, four of the seventeen Uighurs were removed from
detention and resettled in the nation of Bermuda; another six have
accepted an offer to resettle in Palau. After that resettlement occurs,
seven Uighurs will still remain imprisoned at Guantanamo.
The following can be attributed to Sharon Bradford Franklin, Constitution Project Senior Counsel:
are pleased that the Supreme Court granted review, and hope that the
Court will reverse the D.C. Circuit's decision. If left in force, the
opinion would completely undermine the habeas rights previously
recognized by the Supreme Court. The remaining Uighurs are not enemy
combatants and therefore the executive branch lacks the authority to
continue to detain them at Guantanamo. Courts must have the power to
compel release in order for successful challenges to unlawful detention
to have any meaning.
"The Obama administration should not,
however, wait for the Court to resolve this matter. To end the unlawful
detention of the remaining Uighur detainees, we urge President Obama to
act promptly to find another home for the Uighurs and finally end their
The Constitution Project, along with the
Brennan Center for Justice, the Rutherford Institute, the National
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the City of New York Bar
Association, filed a friend of the court brief in the Supreme Court on
May 7, urging the Court to accept review of the Uighurs' case seeking
release from Guantanamo now that they have been recognized not to be
enemy combatants. To view the brief, go to:
in May, the Constitution Project and nine prominent conservatives
released a statement calling on the federal government to end the
unlawful detention of the seventeen Chinese Muslims, who were being
detained at Guantanamo at the time. The statement is available at:
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The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at http://constitutionproject.org/.