[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] late Wednesday issued a temporary stay [order, PDF] of a district court order requiring the federal government to release 17 Uighur detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives]. A three-judge panel wrote:
The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the motion for stay pending appeal and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion.The panel further ordered the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] to file a motion for a stay pending appeal by 4 PM Friday. AP has more. The Washington Post has local coverage.
DOJ attorneys sought the temporary stay [JURIST report] on Tuesday, hours after US District Judge Ricardo Urbina of the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled [JURIST report; transcript] that the Chinese Muslim detainees must be released into the United States. In the motion, the DOJ contended that Urbina's order "raises legal questions of the highest magnitude." Urbina had given the government until Friday to transfer the Uighurs, who have been incarcerated at Guantanamo for six years. Although the government has determined that the Uighurs are not unlawful enemy combatants [10 USC 948a text; JURIST news archive], it has linked them with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) [MIPT backgrounder], a militant group that calls for separation from China and has been a US-designated terrorist group since 2002.