Bermuda Accepts Detainees as U.S. Starts Dismantling Guantanamo

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