Chinese Muslims Held at Guantanamo Aren’t Considered Enemy Combatants
A federal judge is considering whether to order a group of detainees held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay released into the United States, in what would instantly become a landmark legal decision in the years-long battle over the rights of terrorism suspects there.
The men, a small band of Chinese Muslims who have been held for nearly seven years, are no longer considered enemy combatants by the U.S. government, but they are caught in a well-documented diplomatic bind. Unlike other captives, they cannot be sent to their home country because Beijing considers them terrorists, and they might be tortured. The government released five of the detainees, known as Uighurs (pronounced “WEE-gurz”), to Albania in 2006, but no other country wants to risk offending China by accepting the others.