< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Detainee Cleared for Release Is in Limbo at Guantanamo

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Detainee Cleared for Release Is in Limbo at Guantanamo

The Washington Post has an almost unbelievable story as they report of a man sent to Guantanamo Bay who has not only been cleared of being an "enemy combatant," but seems to never have been considered a threat to America in the first place, since he had allegedly plotted to kill Osama bin laden. As the article (click here to read) reports:

Like a group of five Chinese Uighurs (pronounced wee-gurs) , Turkistani remains incarcerated because the United States simply does not know what to do with him. He does not have Saudi citizenship, and U.S. officials are having trouble getting his home country to take him back. U.S. officials do not want to send him to China, where Uighurs are seeking a separate homeland, saying he is likely to be tortured.
But unlike many detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Turkistani was not captured on the battlefield, nor was he a suspected terrorist. Instead, he was swept up in the confusion that marked the early days of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and even as a potential ally found himself with no recourse to challenge his detention. "The crowning irony is that he is an enemy of bin Laden, who was charged with conspiring to kill him, and we hold him prisoner today," said Sabin Willett, a lawyer who has filed a petition with the U.S. District Court in Washington on Turkistani's behalf. "It's heartbreaking that we throw people into jail to rot."
Turkistani is one of nine detainees who live at Guantanamo Bay's Camp Iguana, a less restrictive area of the prison where detainees have limited privileges including access to television and a few DVDs. Besides five Chinese Uighurs who have not been accepted by any country, there is a Russian, an Algerian and an Egyptian. All have been cleared for release but have not been given their freedom.

This seems to be the clearest example of why detainees at Guantanamo Bay and those detained as enemy combatants should have the ability to challenge their detention and be able to have the chance to prove their innocence. If someone is such a grave threat to the United States, it seems to me that there would be enough evidence to hold them. However, this is not what is happening and while the majority of those being held at Guantanamo may be terrorists, the fact remains that mistakes have been made and innocent people are being held for no reason. I always thought America was supposed to promote democracy and the rule of law, not circumvent it. Maybe someone has an opposing opinion that they would like to post in the comments section or additional arguments for giving representation and due process to all people captured in the War on Terror.

--Tom Hayes


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