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Supreme Court dismisses appeal by Uighurs held at Guantanamo

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In the meantime, the Obama administration continued to work to resettle the Uighurs in a third country. They could not be returned to their native China under US law because, as a disfavored ethnic minority, they feared possible abuse and torture by the Chinese government.

Of 22 Uighurs originally detained at Guantanamo, five were resettled to Albania, four went to Bermuda, and six to Palau. By early 2010, all but one of the remaining seven Uighurs had been offered resettlement in at least one other country.

The fact that one Uighur was still being held without a resettlement offer undercut government arguments that the case should be dismissed.

That changed on Feb. 3, when the Obama administration secured a resettlement offer from Switzerland for Arkin Mahmoud, the last Uighur to receive such an offer, and his brother, Bahiya Mahnut. Once the two accepted the offer, the government was then able to argue to the Supreme Court that the conditions underlying the original order by the federal judge had now substantially changed.

At the time of the original order, the Uighurs argued that they had no other option for release than to come to the US pending resettlement. With the Swiss offer, all the Uighurs had received at least one resettlement offer outside the US.

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