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Supreme Court to rule on Guantanamo prisoners

The US Supreme Court will decide if federal courts can order the release into the US of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. The case concerns 17 men from the Uighur part of China who are still incarcerated, even though the US agrees they are not a threat. Last year a federal judge ordered them released, but the decision was reversed on appeal on grounds that judges cannot override immigration laws. The Obama administration has sent some of them to Bermuda, and Palau said it would take most of the rest. But at least one apparently has nowhere to go and doesn’t want to return to China for fear of being tortured or killed by the Chinese. Legal scholars say this case is the next logical step in a string of detainee cases to go to the Supreme Court. In Boumediene v. Bush, the court ruled federal judges have jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus claims from Guantanamo prisoners. But the Uighurs’ lawyers say that ruling becomes moot if judges cannot order prisoners who can’t go home or be settled elsewhere, to be released into the US.

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