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Rights group claims US holds two Uighurs at Gitmo after clearance

[JURIST] According to the Center for Constitutional Rights [advocacy website] (CCR), the US military is holding two ethnic Uighur Muslims [Wikipedia profile] at Guantanamo that have been found not to be enemy combatants. Lawyers for Abu Bakker Qassim and Adel Abdu al-Hakim went before a federal court on Monday to seek their release after learning Friday that the men had been cleared on March 26 2005. CCR claims a Guantanamo review panel ruled in March that Qassim and Hakim were not enemy combatants [CCR press release] subject to military tribunals. A Pentagon spokesman said the US makes it clear that it is unwilling to "return or extradite individuals to other countries where it believes that it is 'more likely than not' that they will be tortured or subject to persecution." China, which has requested their return, has recently renewed a campaign against Muslim separatists and the US is reportedly concerned the pair will be persecuted if sent back. CCR criticized the government for failing "to notify their attorneys, families or anyone else" and allowing them to remain at Guantanamo for an additional six months. District Judge James Robertson said he is considering an order moving them into a special facility for migrants [Boston Globe report] on a Navy base, where the US holds rafters from Cuba and Haiti seeking asylum. Robertson, in a decision that will likely take weeks, could become the first federal judge to order the military to discharge a detainee from Guantanamo . AFP has more.

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