La Corte Suprema statunitense ha accettato di dare udienza martedì scorso ai 13 cinesi musulmani trattenuti nella base navale sulla baia di Guantanamo che sono in prossimità del rilascio. Il caso riguarda un gioco di forza tra i rami del governo Usa riguardo il potere di giudicare la libertà dei detenuti.
Segue il comunicato di Human Rights Without Frontiers
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear the appeal of 13 Chinese Muslims at Guantanamo Bay naval base who are cleared for release yet are still being held. The case sets up a major test of the power among the branches of government to order detainees freed.
The justices rejected the Obama administration’s plea that they stay out of the case. Since 2004, the court has issued decisions ensuring that judges play a strong role in protecting prisoner rights at the U.S.-run naval base in Cuba.
The new case tests judges’ authority to order detainees found not to be terrorist threats released into the USA. It marks the first time the Obama administration will come before the justices in a clash over Guantanamo Bay policy.
The Uighurs, members of a Muslim minority originally living in western China, had fled to Afghanistan After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, they were among hundreds of men transferred to U.S. forces and sent to Guantanamo.
They initially were held as “enemy combatants,” but that status was lifted. They would be free to return to China if they did not fear persecution there. This summer, ethnic rioting in Western China led to a crackdown on Uighurs.
A district court judge last year ordered the Uighurs brought to the U.S. and freed, but an appeals court reversed.
Administration lawyers argue in a brief that judges lack the power to order the release into the U.S. “outside of the framework of the immigration laws.” Lawyers for the Uighurs counter that judges may intervene when the government has “brought the prisoners to our threshold, imprisons them … without legal justification, and – as seven years have so poignantly proved – there is nowhere else to go.”
The case will test the strength of a 2008 Supreme Court decision giving Guantanamo detainees a constitutional right to challenge their imprisonment.
U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan told the court any decisions about who can enter the country rest with the executive and legislative branches.
She also argued the Uighurs already had won some relief. “They are no longer being detained as enemy combatants, they are free to leave Guantanamo Bay to go to any country that is willing to accept them,” Kagan wrote, “and in the meantime, they are housed in facilities … under the least restrictive conditions practicable.”
Kagan told the justices last month that the administration is working to find places for Uighurs. There were 17 at the start of the year; four were resettled in Bermuda. Kagan said the island of Palau in the Pacific would accept 12 of the detainees if the men wanted to go there.
The case would be heard in early 2010, with a decision by next July.
Human Rights Without Frontiers