US court blocks release of Chinese Muslims
A US federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked the release of 17 Chinese Muslims held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison camp to the United States, dpa reported.
The US Court of Appeals in Washington overruled a lower court decision that ordered the release of the Uighurs into the United States.
The US government no longer regards the men as a threat but will not return them to China out of concern they will be abused. Washington has been unable to find a third country willing to take them.
A US District judge, Ricardo M Urbina, in October ordered the release of the Uighurs into the United States after concluding the military did not have enough evidence to justify their detention and that the government had failed to relocated them to another country.
But the Court of Appeals reversed the decision, determining that the courts could not interfere with the executive branch on immigration policy.
The Uighurs have been held at Guantanamo since 2002 and are believed to have received training in a terrorist camp in Afghanistan.
Washington has been unable to find a third country in part because China wants them back and has warned nations against taking them in. Some civil society and church groups abroad, most recently in Canada, have been pushing their governments to make the overture on behalf of the Uighurs.
President Barack Obama has ordered a review of all of the 245 remaining cases at Guantanamo as part of his January order to close the prison within a year. Obama is expected to ask US allies to accept some of the detainees.