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Canada refuses US request to accept Uighur Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] The Canadian government on Thursday refused a US request to accept Chinese Uighur Muslims from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives]. A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official profile] affirmed [CBC report] that the Canadian government is not willing to take detainees from the detention facility. Director of communication for the prime minister's office Kory Teneycke [Canada.com profile] stated that there is no justification for Canada to receive any detainees who are not Canadian citizens or are lacking a connection to the country. Additionally, Teneycke said that there are no plans to receive Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [JURIST news archive]. In a related development, lawyers for the Uighur detainees filed a brief [text, PDF] with the US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday, responding to the US government's recent reply [brief, PDF; JURIST report] to the detainees' petition for certiorari [text, PDF; JURIST report]. The petitioners addressed their concern that the February ruling [opinion, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] regarding the Uighurs renders the Court's decision in Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] merely advisory.

In May, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives [official website] proposed a bill [JURIST report] that, if passed, might block a proposed plan to accept up to seven Uighur detainees [JURIST report] into the US. In March, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] announced that the US would consider accepting all 17 detainees [JURIST report]. February's decision by the DC Circuit overruled an October district court order [opinion and order, PDF; JURIST report] supporting the release of the Uighurs into the US. The US government has determined that the Uighurs are not unlawful enemy combatants [10 USC § 948a text; JURIST news archive], but have been linked with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) [CFR backgrounder], a militant group that calls for separation from China and has been a US-designated terrorist group since 2002.

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