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Australia to consider third US petition to accept Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith [official profile] confirmed on Friday that Australia is considering the Obama administration's request that Australia accept six of the Uighur Guantanamo detainees [JURIST news archive] who have already been cleared for release. Smith said that each case will be considered using the same guidelines that were used to consider the prior petition [JURIST report], congruent with Australian national interests and immigration rules. The opposition leadership in the Australian Parliament has spoken out against accepting [Sydney Morning Herald report] the Uighurs, citing the danger of released detainees renewing terrorist ties.

This is the US government's third request that Australia accept detainees, with two prior requests by the Bush administration being rejected. China continues to pressure the US to repatriate the Uighurs, who have been linked with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement [CFR backgrounder] separatist group. Also on Friday, the US government urged [JURIST report] the US Supreme Court to reject a petition for certiorari filed by 14 Uighur detainees appealing a lower court decision upholding the constitutionality of their continued detention. The US continues to actively petition [JURIST news archive] other countries to accept some of the Guantanamo detainees.

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