Obama Asserts That Innocent Prisoners Have No Right of Release

Via commenter Phil Smith, I have learned that the Obama Administration, through Solicitor General Elena Kagan, is making the morally outrageous claim that the 17 Chinese Uighars who were captured by U.S. troops on the demonstrably false assertion that they were terrorists, held at Guantanamo Bay and tortured/enhancedly interrogated have no right to be released in the United States.

The Obama administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to reject a request for a hearing from 17 Chinese Muslims currently being held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, arguing they have no right to come to America despite a district judge’s orders last Fall that they immediately be brought to the U.S. and released.

“Petitioners are free to return to their home country, but they understandably do not wish to do so, because they fear inhumane treatment there,” reads the filing, signed by US Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Assistant Attorney General Tony West, and other Justice Department officials. “Petitioners are also free to go to any other country that is willing to accept them.”

Of course, right now no country is willing to accept them. Why? The biggest excuse is that they won’t accept them because the U.S. won’t. So the bottom line is that the Uighar captives are free to either stay in prison or go back to China where they will almost certainly be killed. There’s a lovely choice for you.

But don’t worry, says Obama–even though they’re in prison, it’s a really nice prison!

“In contrast to individuals currently detained as enemies under the laws of war, petitioners are being housed under relatively unrestrictive conditions, given the status of Guantanamo Bay as a United States military base,” Kagan writes, saying they are “in special communal housing with access to all areas of their camp, including an outdoor recreation space and picnic area.” They “sleep in an air-conditioned bunk house and have the use of an activity room equipped with various recreational items, including a television with VCR and DVD players, a stereo system, and sports equipment.”

Yes, because who would want to be free to live their own lives as they see fit when they could have a stereo and sports equipment?

In my opinion, one of the worst things that can happen to a person is to be accused of a crime they didn’t commit and imprisoned. Now I’ve learned that there is something worse that can happen. You can be accused of a crime you didn’t commit, then have the government that imprisoned you acknowledge that yes, you are innocent–but they’re going to keep you in prison anyway.

“Can we be even more morally obtuse than the Bush Administration?” “Yes we can!”

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I think you might want to re-examine the law on this one, Alex.




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  2. Since releasing them into the US population is an absolute non-starter (just ask your congressperson), what do you propose?




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  3. Phil Smith says:

    I gotta cut Alex some slack, at least he’s being consistent in his criticism.




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  4. Mike says:

    give enough “incentives” (IE bribes) and a country will take them – tell them they can get into NATO or some other fun club – the US picked them up and imprisoned them, the US has a duty to figure out what to do with them




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  5. Since releasing them into the US population is an absolute non-starter (just ask your congressperson), what do you propose?

    That Americans ought to be ashamed of themselves?




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  6. PD Shaw says:

    Alex wouldn’t answer the question a few blogs ago as to whether he thought the Uighur detainees should be released to America. I suppose this is the answer.

    This is wrong:

    Of course, right now no country is willing to accept them. Why? The biggest excuse is that they won’t accept them because the U.S. won’t.

    The government decided 15 of them could be released in 2003, some of them were released to Albania. By 2005, when the situation first received publicity, about 20 countries — including Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Turkey had turned down U.S. overtures to give them asylum.

    WaPo Link

  7. Alex Knapp says:

    PD –

    a) I didn’t realize that I had missed the question, but yeah, this is my answer.

    b) I was blogging in a hurry and had totally forgotten about the few that Albania agreed to take.

    I don’t think that eliminates my overall point, though




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  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Obama Asserts That Innocent Prisoners Have No Right of Release

    Silly rabbit, only liberals in power have rights.Everyone else who thinks the have them are liberal voters.

    now imagine what the rest of us simple terror suspects get and you might get some were.




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  9. Bill H says:

    I supported Obama and voted for him, but I’m reaching the point now that I hear his soaring rhetoric and I see images of things like this court filing, and others like it. I see drones killing 14 terrorists and 700 Pakistani civilians. I see F-18’s killing 100+ Afgan women and children in Obama’s War of choice.

    “Your actions speak so loudly,” Mr. Obama, “that I can’t hear what you say.”




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  10. Gustopher says:

    My concern is not that the Uighars represent a threat, but that releasing them into the US under court order would be setting a precedent for the rest of the prisoners at Guantanamo.

    They are free to go (back to China where they will be persecuted). We are not detaining them, we are providing them a sanctuary if they (understandably) choose not to go. In the meantime, they can go through the normal immigration channels.

    This will end up in the Supreme Court, and after the Uighars lose, we should release them into the US anyway. It’s the morally right thing to do, and they pose no threat.

    But first, we need to establish the binding precedent that we don’t have to let them in. And we should make sure they are as comfortable as possible while they wait.




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