Why were the men at Guantánamo?
The five men were among 22 Uighurs who were captured and sold to US forces in Afghanistan by bounty hunters in 2002. The US military transported the men to the prison camp at Guantánamo. They have no known connection to Al Qaeda or the Taliban.
Eventually, volunteer lawyers in the US exposed the situation and the US government conceded that the Uighurs were neither enemy combatants nor a danger to US national security.
The US negotiated the resettlement of five of the Uighurs in Albania in 2006. But 17 Uighurs remained in limbo at Guantánamo.
Who controls access to the US?
The Bush administration assured the federal judge in the case that it was working diligently to locate an appropriate country willing to resettle the men, but after significant delays, the judge ordered the government to bring the Uighurs to his courtroom.
That’s the key issue in the latest appeal: Does a federal judge have the constitutional power to order the government to bring foreign nationals into the US? No, said the Obama and Bush administrations.