Earlier today we noted that a federal judge has ordered the release of 17 ethnic Uighers currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. "The moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for the detention," said Federal District Judge Ricardo Urbina.
It's the first time a court has ordered the release of any Gitmo detainees.
The government has just released a statement on the decision. As expected, the Justice Department says it's filing an emergency appeal to prevent the men from going free: "The ruling presents serious national security and separation of powers concerns and raises unprecedented legal issues." The judge has ordered the government to bring the detainees to the Washington, D.C., court on Friday.
The government's statement also says the Uigher detainees "have admitted to receiving weapons training at camps in Afghanistan." This summer, a three-judge federal appeals court panel hearing the case of one of the Uighers pointedly questioned the government's evidence. As the Washington Post put it:
The judges were particularly concerned with government assertions that the evidence was reliable because it was repeated in separate documents and that officials would not have included the information if it were not dependable.
"Lewis Carroll notwithstanding, the fact the government has 'said it thrice' does not make an allegation true," wrote Judge Merrick B. Garland, quoting from Carroll's poem "The Hunting of the Snark."