Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2009/02/20 09:14
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that 17 Turkic Muslims cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay must stay at the prison camp, raising the stakes for an Obama administration that has pledged to quickly close the facility and free those who have not been charged.
In a showdown over presidential power, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said a judge went too far last October in ordering the U.S. entry of the 17 men, known as Uighurs (WEE'-gurz), over the objections of the Bush administration.
The three-judge panel suggested the detainees might be able to seek entry by applying to the Homeland Security Department, which administers U.S. immigration laws. But the court bluntly concluded the detainees otherwise had no constitutional right to immediate freedom after being held in custody at the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without charges for nearly seven years.
"Such sentiments, however high-minded, do not represent a legal basis for upsetting settled law and overriding the prerogatives of the political branches," wrote Judge A. Raymond Randolph, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.