Judge says he can't order Gitmo releases

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The continued detention by the U.S. military of two ethnic Uighurs at Guantanamo Bay is "unlawful," a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson, in a 12-page decision handed down Thursday, said Abu Bakker Qassim and Adel Abdu Hakim, Uighurs from western China, should have been released by the federal government, The Washington Pose reported.


Robertson's decision reads: "The detention of these petitioners has now become indefinite. This indefinite imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay is unlawful."

Robertson said any relief he could offer the detainees was limited by the Supreme Court's Rasul vs. Bush ruling last year because that decision did not address what the rights of people no longer considered enemy combatants but held at Guantanamo were.

Qassim and Hakim have been held at Guantanamo Bay since they were captured in Afghanistan in 2001. U.S. officials cannot return the men to China, where the men are considered terrorists, for fear they would be tortured or killed and some two dozen other countries have refused to take the prisoners, the Post said.

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