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Chinese Muslims Detained at Gitmo Turned Away from High Court

Posted Apr 18, 2011 10:46 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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The U.S. Supreme Court today turned away a plea from five Chinese Muslims being held at Guantanamo Bay.

The five, who have previously declined an offer to be resettled in Palau, have been held at the U.S. naval base for nearly nine years. Six other Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, have agreed to resettlement in the tiny Pacific nation, the Associated Press reports.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by three other justices, wrote in a statement explaining the court's cert denial (PDF) that he saw "no government-imposed obstacle to [the Uighurs'] timely release and appropriate resettlement," SCOTUSblog reports.

Despite claims to the contrary by lawyers for the Uighurs, Breyer reasoned that there was no "meaningful challenge" to the appropriateness of the government’s arrangement for them to be sent to Palau or another unnamed country.

SCOTUSblog reports that the five have refused offers to go to Palau or another country not of their choosing, where they have no cultural identity. The U.S. has long agreed that these detainees are not enemy combatants and have worked on finding resettlement options. China wants them sent home, but the detainees and the administration agree that sending them to China could lead to torture, the Associate Press reports.

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