Civil Liberties

Final Three Uighur Prisoners Released From Guantanamo Bay

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Credit: AslanMedia / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

The final three Uighur prisoners have been freed from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, a move that has been described by the Pentagon as a "significant milestone."

The men had been detained for over a decade, despite the fact that military assessments found that they had no ties to Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Although a federal judge ruled that the men had been unlawfully detained in 2008 their release was delayed because of what The Washington Post described as "repeated legal wrangling and attempts to find a country willing to accept them." Slovakia has accepted the men, and the Slovakian interior minister has said that they are not terror suspects. According to the BBC, the U.S. does not "repatriate Uighur detainees to China because of the risk they could be mistreated."

The BBC notes that there are still 155 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, a reduction from over 750.

While he was a presidential candidate then-Senator Obama promised that he would close the prison at Guantanamo Bay when he became president. However, as ABC's Matt Negrin explained back in July, Obama has faced opposition to closing the prison in Congress, another reminder that promises are easier to make than they are to keep:

Obama has run into plenty of opposition in Congress. Lawmakers passed a bill preventing federal money from being used to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to the United States. Obama signed that bill into law, even as he issued a statement that disapproved of it. The provision was part of a bigger military bill that Obama said was too important not to sign.

Republicans, in particular, say that Guantanamo must stay open to keep terrorists there.

Last week, Obama signed the NDAA for FY 2014, which included the easing of restrictions on transferring detainees into custody abroad. The ban on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. is still in place.

In a statement on the signing of the bill Obama said:

The continued operation of the facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners and emboldening violent extremists.

For the past several years, the Congress has enacted unwarranted and burdensome restrictions that have impeded my ability to transfer detainees from Guantanamo. Earlier this year I again called upon the Congress to lift these restrictions and, in this bill, the Congress has taken a positive step in that direction.

and:

The detention facility at Guantanamo continues to impose significant costs on the American people.

More from Reason.com on Guantanamo Bay here.

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  1. According to the BBC, the U.S. does not “repatriate Uighur detainees to China because of the risk they could be mistreated.”

    Yeah, they might end up in a prison camp without due process.

    1. I was just gonna quote that.

      Hypocrisy much?

    2. Seriously. Fuck off and die assholes.

  2. Can’t Obama just vow to close it again, likes he’s been doing since 2008? That should solve everything.

    1. I’m so glad he was elected twice so that he could keep promising to close it someday.

      1. Can we continually renew America’s promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay?

        YES WE CAN.

        1. See, it’s hope for change that marks this administration. We are perpetually denied change so that we can continue to hope for it.

  3. Well, shit, maybe Obama should have invested all that political capital he put into giving piles of money to insurance companies into closing this moral horrorshow instead. That would require a conscience, though.

  4. I find it funny that he’s willing to step all over Congress and do whatever the hell he wants with shit like Libya and Obamacare, but not Gitmo.

    One wonders if he really, truly wants to close the place. /facetious

    1. Personally, I think he wants to retire there. He’s having the inmates brainwashed into being total slaves to him.

    2. KK, his hands are tied. If your weren’t such a slave to patriarchy you would understand.

  5. Obama has run into plenty of opposition in Congress. Lawmakers passed a bill preventing federal money from being used to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to the United States. Obama signed that bill into law, even as he issued a statement that disapproved of it. The provision was part of a bigger military bill that Obama said was too important not to sign.

    Not exactly opposition when he’s the one signing the law that forces him to break his own promise, is it?

    And all that elides the fact that in the absolute best-case scenario, all Obama planned to do was open a facility functionally identical to Guantanamo a few hundred miles north.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I think it’s important to always point these things out so that the propaganda narrative doesn’t take hold…

  6. …the U.S. does not “repatriate Uighur detainees to China because of the risk they could be mistreated.”

    LMAO! Heaven forbid that the U.S. would ever facilitate the mistreatment of anyone.

  7. From the BBC article:

    Previously six Uighurs have been sent from Guantanamo to the Pacific island nation of Palau, while 11 others have gone to Bermuda, Albania and Switzerland.

    1. Bermuda’s not bad – susceptible to hurricanes, though.

      I’d hope for Switzerland if I were one of them. An isolated country that doesn’t give two shits what the rest of the world thinks.

      1. Welllllll, I would not go that far. But they can, and do, put up a stoic “sorry, we are neutral” face when they want to disregard some outside pressures.

  8. You know what goes through Obama’s mind when these inconsistencies seep through the walled garden of bliss he inhabits?

    I said lots of stuff to get elected. Did these fools actually believe me? Ha! I thought everybody knew that was all just bullshit to get elected. Jesus you people are dumb.

  9. Do or do not – there is no “try”.

    Too old for the training, he is…

    1. Don’t try your Jedi mind-melding tricks on me, old man.

  10. I never understood how Bush was the bad guy for keeping Muslims from being abused by their home countries. But he had an “R” after his name, so of course he deserved no benefit.

  11. Why couldn’t we have just settled these guys in Orange County? Why did Slovakia, Bermuda, Albania and CH have to get involved?

  12. I wanna go to Palau!

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