WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) responded to news that U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina today ordered 17 Chinese Muslims being held at Guantanamo Bay military prison to be released into the United States. The detainees may be released as early as this Friday, October 10.
Graham noted in 2001 most of the Chinese Uighurs (Wee-gurs) were in Taliban terrorist camps in Afghanistan. They have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002.
“The court’s decision is unprecedented,” said Graham. “I believe the judge’s decision to release these individuals into the United States sets a dangerous precedent in the War on Terror. Our nation needs clear policies dealing with detainees who are ordered to be released. Simply opening the courthouse door and letting them roam free on the streets of our nation is not sound policy.”
Graham, along with U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) has introduced legislation, the Enemy Combatant Detention Review Act, which addresses situations such as these.
The legislation prohibits the release of detainees into the United States. Detainees ordered released by federal judges would be transferred to the custody of Department of Homeland Security and be housed separately while the State Department secured release into their home country or other appropriate location in accordance with U.S. law prohibiting the return of individuals to a country where they may be mistreated.
“I understand some detainees will not be able to be repatriated to their native countries for fear of reprisal,” said Graham. “Some nations will choose not to accept their citizens. But the last thing our own nation needs is the unconditional release of former enemy combatants into American communities. It is not a good situation for our citizens or the detainee who may be at risk. Congress needs to address this problem as soon as possible.”