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Bermuda Accepts Detainees as U.S. Starts Dismantling Guantanamo

The Brennan Center welcomes the Burmudan government’s decision to resettle four Guantánamo Uighurs.

June 16, 2009

For Immediate Release: May 16, 2009  

Contact: Jeanine Plant-Chirlin, 212–998–6289
Susan Lehman, 212–998–6318

The move reverses seven years of disregard for rule of law
The Brennan Center welcomes the Burmudan government’s decision last week to accept the resettlement of four Uighurs (Muslims from Western China) who had been unlawfully detained at Guantánamo Bay for years. 

The action of the Bermuda government and Premier Ewart Brown in accepting these detainees is one that should be applauded by all those who believe in human rights and the rule of law.  The U.S. courts and the executive branch have repeatedly recognized that these four detainees, as well as the 13 Uighurs who remain at Guantánamo, are not enemy combatants.  They cannot be returned to China because of the likelihood that they would be tortured.  Yet despite the fact that they have been found to pose no danger to the U.S., politically inspired opposition to the closure of Guantánamo has prevented the Uighurs’ release into this country—with the result that other countries have been reluctant to accept them, as well. 

“The Uighurs have suffered through seven years of arbitrary and unlawful detention,” says Elizabeth Goitein, Director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Project.  “Bermuda should be proud that its government stepped forward to help rectify a grave miscarriage of justice by providing the freedom to which the Uighurs are entitled.  The release of these four detainees also takes us one step closer to closing Guantánamo and the symbol of inhumanity and illegality that it has become.”   

On May 7, the Brennan Center joined the Constitution Project, the Rutherford Institute, the National Association of Criminal Defense Layers, and the City of New York Bar Association in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in a case challenging the continued detention of the Uighurs. The brief can be read here.

For more information or to set up an interview with Liza Goitein, please contact Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at 212–998–6289 or, Susan Lehman at 212–998–6318 or