Free the Uighurs

"Dear Pat
Today counsel to the Uighur prisoners at Guantanamo Bay made the attached request of the Obama administration that it launch the President's program to close Guantanamo by immediate release of our clients, who have been cleared by the courts and the military itself, and last September were ordered released.
As we have argued to the administration, the emptying of the Guantanamo prison cannot be achieved without the cooperation of America's allies, and that cooperation cannot be realized without America's firm leadership.
For too long this case has cried out for remedy.  We are buoyed by the President's order this week.  We urge him to begin the real work of implementation with this long overdue first step.
P. Sabin Willett
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11 Responses to Free the Uighurs

  1. lina says:

    This subject provides me with an opportunity to ask a question that has long puzzled me. Wouldn’t the smart thing to do with these alleged “enemy combatants” have been to hold them for 90 days, see if they could be charged with specific, provable crimes, and if not, let them go? Upon release, FOLLOW THEM AND FIND OUT WITH WHOM THEY ASSOCIATE?
    Sorry to shout, but this has bothered me for a long time. Is our human intelligence capability so ineffectual that we can’t keep tabs on a couple hundred people?
    Am I missing something here?
    Aside from the fact that detaining people forever without trial links us morally with Josef Stalin, it just doesn’t seem very smart from a national security standpoint.

  2. b says:

    What do U.S. allies have to do with the issue?

  3. Green Zone Cafe says:

    Go for it! I’m in no fear of these hapless Uighurs – settle them in the USA. I’m sure they can find something to divert them in Houston or Boston. If nothing else, they can find a ghostwriter to help them find their 15 minutes of fame.

  4. Cujo359 says:

    I’ve often wondered the same thing, lina. It never seemed as though doing what’s smart or effective was high on the Bush Administration agenda.
    On a somewhat related not, are these more of the same folks who ended up in Albania? I hope the new Administration comes up with a better solution for the rest.

  5. Dave of Maryland says:

    I agree with Green Zone. We’re a melting pot, we have their fellow countrymen hereabouts. Give them six months in a halfway house (they need time to readjust) & a few thousand bucks & some helpful phone numbers & release them. They clearly cannot be charged & if they commit crimes, they can always be rearrested. If they wanna go home, let them.

  6. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    You may have come across an extraordinary lawyer out of Atlanta — Terry Walsh of Alston and Bird. The best. I know he is associated with the Guanatanamo Habeas Counsel. Also represents the little guy in pro bono cases in Georgia. One of the good guys that comes out of the corporate world. Hope to see him this week on another USG inspired injustice that occurred awhile back.

  7. Charles I says:

    b re: “What do U.S. allies have to do with the issue?”
    We’re the cleanup squad. We resettle the innocents who can’t be sent home to Saudi Arabia, China, Uzbekistan, etc., after you scoop them up and “incentivize’ ’em for a while – or just forget about them for a few years. You can badger the allies who complained loudest about the poor schmucks’ rights to take them in if they’re so holier than thou. I know Canada and Germany have acted in this capacity since 2001.
    Be interesting to see who and how many Iraqis get into the U.S. post-withdrawal.

  8. Michael Chevalier says:

    This issue was covered by BBC radio. At least one of the Uighurs, pronounced Why-Gars during the piece, have applied for asylum in Sweeden and was denied.
    He also stated that he had been continually threatened by the Chinese government during his internment.
    I believe the denial by Sweeden underscores how the rest of the Western world will react to being asked to take any of the Gitmo population.

  9. Sherry Long says:

    Colonel Lang:
    Thank you for posting this appeal on behalf of the Uighurs. These people have suffered enough at our hands. We should have released them long ago and granted them asylum here in the United States (since we know they would be horribly mistreated if we turned them over to China, as demanded).

  10. Abu Sinan says:

    There are families of the same ethnic origin ready to take them here in the USA, Northern Virginia I believe.

  11. @Abu Sinan,
    Yes indeed there are local DC families ready to take in these men. In fact:
    U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled in October that the Bush administration must release the Uighurs because it no longer considers them to be enemy combatants. He ordered the government to bring the men to his Washington courtroom within 72 hours so they could be placed in the custody of local Uighur families who have offered to take them.
    Of course, the previous administration refused to comply with the court’s ruling. One hopes the new administration will comply ASAP.
    As for closing GTMO and resolving the the fate of those imprisoned there, my solution for the vast majority of the remaining prisoners is simple:
    1) full and immediate Presidential pardon and signed letter of apology
    2) immediate cash payment and warrant for continued USG financial support for a period up to 2X the length of imprisonment
    3) immediate removal from GTMO to a suitable US locale for language training and cultural education (e.g., Green Zone’s “halfway house”);
    4) an unconditional offer for US permanent resident alien/refugee status with promise for eventual US citizenship via naturalization process
    5) resettlement to a US locale of the prisoners choice upon completion of the “halfway house” period
    6) unconditional offer of USG assistance in repatriation to the prisoner’s nation of choice
    For the VERY FEW prisoners at GTMO who have been charged with crimes (e.g., KSM), they should be immediately removed to the U.S. for federal criminal prosecution. If there is insufficient “untainted” evidence to establish prima facia criminal cases, then these prisoners should be treated as the rest in 1-6 above. If these men are truly so dangerous and criminal, it will be a short period before they re-commit crimes for which they could be prosecuted. Similarly, for the cases that do go to trial, those acquitted by the juries should be processed as outlined above.

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