The dramatic ruling could pave the way for the release of dozens more prisoners from the controversial American naval base in Cuba.
In a stern rebuke of the Bush administration, US District Judge Ricardo Urbina said it would be wrong to keep the Chinese detainees behind bars because they are no longer considered enemy combatants.
opened in 2002.
But the US Justice Department launched an immediate appeal last night, saying the court order posed a threat to national security.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said administration officials ‘strongly disagreed’ with the ruling and were ‘deeply concerned.’
The seventeen are members of the Uighurs ethnic group who fled religious persecution in the far western reaches of China and have been in US custody for seven years.
Although they were cleared for release from the Cuban camp four years ago, they have been kept in limbo because they would face arrest and possible torture in China and no other countries would take them. More...