Final Three Uighur Prisoners Released From Guantanamo Bay

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

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
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

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.


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

More from on Guantanamo Bay here.

from Hit & Run

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