The wheels of justice grind exceeding slow

Lakhdar Boumediene’s odyssey began back in 2001 when he was picked up in Bosnia, suspected in a bomb plot against the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. In January 2002 he  arrived at Gitmo, where he languished for more than six years without charges ever being filed and without hope of  release.

Then in June 2008 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled  that the  Algerian-born Muslim was entitled to the basic right of habeas corpus.

At last there was hope that he would be able to leave the prison located on the Guantanamo Bay naval base.

Still he had to wait … and wait … and wait.

He finally got his first taste of freedom in more than seven long years  when he landed in France  recently  to join relatives there.  France  had promised to take one Guantanamo prisoner when Obama attended the NATO summit in April and said last week it would accept Boumediene.

It took more than 11 months from the landmark SCOTUS ruling in Boumediene v Bush for Boumediene to finally leave Guantanamo Bay forever.

The psychological scars from his prolonged confinement are likely haunt him the rest of his life.  No reparations for his lost years were offered.  No apologies either.

But at least Lakhdar Boumediene is a free man today.

But there are at least 250 others whose fate is still uncertain as they await news of their possible release.

One group of Muslims still locked up at Guantanamo which really cannot go home again are the Uighurs, members of  an ethnic group  struggling against Chinese government repression.   Their lives are threatened if they return to their native land.   But finding a new home is  no easy task.  There have been suggestions that they might be able to come to the United States.    Given the rightwing fearmongering about Guantanamo detainees, that is becoming less and less likely.

Meanwhile the 17 Uighurs are waiting to be set free.   The only reason that they were kept at Guantanamo so long was as a favor to the Chinese government.  Not a good reason to hold prisoners without cause, without charges and without hope of release.

The Uighurs should be among the next to be released from Guantanamo.  They were cleared for release more than four years ago — but they’re still waiting … and waiting … and waiting.

Why should they wait any longer?  Aren’t they entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?


Explore posts in the same categories: Boumediene v Bush, Guantanamo, habeas corpus

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One Comment on “The wheels of justice grind exceeding slow”

  1. Bluebanshee asks: “Why should they wait any longer? Aren’t they entitled to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’?”

    I guess only if they’re Americans. And even then, “the pursuit of happiness” is a tainted phrase. Most Americans seem to think that the “pursuit of happiness” means the pursuit of wealth and status. Even Jefferson, who added the phrase to the Declaration of Independence didn’t feel the need to grant it to the 200 human beings whom he “owned” at the time of his death.

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