Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Guantanamo: freedom?

For the past six years, the US government has been holding a group of Chinese Uighurs prisoners in its Guantanamo Bay gulag, despite admitting that they are not terrorists and pose no threat to the United States. Now, one of them has done the unthinkable: got a US court to overturn their designation as an "enemy combatant":

The three-judge panel directed the US military to release Mr Parhat, transfer him or promptly set up a new military tribunal to try him.

The court also specified that Mr Parhat could petition a federal judge for his immediate release in light of the Supreme Court's 12 June decision.

It is not clear yet whether the US government will appeal to keep an innocent man in prison, or whether they will admit defeat and release him. I'm hoping for the latter. As for where to send him, there is only one just solution. The US has refused to return Parhat to China because of fears he will be tortured by the Chinese regime. That is a prima facie admission that he has a well-founded fear of persecution. Having admitted that, the US has a legal and moral duty to grant him refugee status and give him a new home in America.