WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced late last week that four of the 17 Chinese Muslims—known as Uighurs—were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay and settled in the nation of Bermuda. The Constitution Project welcomes their release and applauds the government of Bermuda for its willingness to accept the four men and end their detention.
The Uighurs have been held at Guantanamo for nearly seven years. They have been found by the United States government not to be “enemy combatants,” therefore posing no threat to the United States, but their detention continued nonetheless. Last week, accounts indicated that their unlawful detention might soon end. In addition to the Bermuda settlement, the island nation of Palau has also expressed a willingness to accept some of the Uighurs. The details of a possible Palau settlement have yet to be made public by the Obama administration.
The following can be attributed to Sharon Bradford Franklin, Constitution Project Senior Counsel:
“The unlawful detention of the 17 Uighurs has gone on far too long. The nation of Bermuda and Premier Ewart Brown deserve praise for their willingness to accept these four men, providing them their long-overdue freedom. We hope that this development will provide momentum for additional settlements – possibly in the nation of Palau.
“Conservatives and liberals both recognize the need to end the Uighurs’ detention after having been declared not to pose a threat to the United States. Once that distinction was made, their continued detention flaunted the rule of law and ignored our nation’s commitments to the Constitution. We hope that the remaining 13 will soon be released.”
The Constitution Project and nine prominent conservatives released a statement three weeks ago calling for the release and settlement of the Uighurs in the United States.