Tuesday, October 7, 2008

District Judge Ricardo Urbina - THE ENEMY WITHIN

The US has reacted angrily after a judge ordered that 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay should be released into the United States.

District Judge Ricardo Urbina said the US could not hold the 17 as they were no longer considered enemy combatants.

The Uighurs were cleared for release in 2004 but the US says they may face persecution if returned to China.

The White House said the ruling could set a precedent that would allow "sworn enemies" to seek US entry.

The government says the 17 also pose a security risk if released into the US.

Lawyers for the Bush administration have argued that federal judges do not have authority to order the release into the US of Guantanamo detainees.

Analysts say the ruling is a rebuke for the US government and could set the stage for the release of dozens more detained at the military jail in Cuba.

'No risk'

Lawyers for the prisoners said it was the first time a federal court had ordered the release into the US of any Guantanamo prisoners.

Judge Urbina had presided over a hearing to consider appeals by the 17 who were seeking to be freed and allowed into the US.

They have been held at Guantanamo for nearly seven years.

The judge said there was no evidence that they were "enemy combatants" or a security risk.


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