In the News: Court Blocks Release of Chinese Muslim Detainees

A federal appeals court blocked the planned release of 17 Chinese Muslims from the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, one day after a lower court ordered their release. The detainees, ethnic Uighurs from a mostly Muslim autonomous region in western China, have been in U.S. custody for seven years. They fled Afghanistan soon after the U.S.-led bombing campaign began, and Pakistani authorities turned them over to the U.S. military. Attorneys for the government said the 17 had engaged in weapons training at an Afghan military training camp. While the government determined in 2004 that the 17 Uighurs were not enemy combatants, it argued that they were not returned to China because of credible fears that they could be persecuted if returned. The Chinese government has asked that its citizens be repatriated and stated that they would not be tortured.

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