Timeline of Uighur detainees wrongfully held at Guantanamo

U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered the release of 17 Uighur detainees after they were no longer considered “enemy combatants” by the U.S. government in 2008. Three of the petitioners in Kiyemba v. Bush are still being held in Guantanamo Bay three years after the federal court order.

Late 2001

22 Uighur men were captured in Pakistan and turned over to the U.S military. Pakistani officials received $5,000 in bounty for each person taken into U.S. custody. The men were later transferred to Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan.

May 2002

The 22 Uighur detainees were relocated to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.


The Uighur detainees were deemed eligible for release by the U.S. military, according to court documents.


The Uighur detainees went through the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT). 17 of the Kiyemba v. Bush petitioners were designated as “enemy combatants” and 5 other Uighur detainees were designated “non-combatants.”


The 5 “non-combatant” Uighurs filed their habeas corpus petitions (Qassim v. Bush). The other 17 Uighurs also filed habeas corpus petitions (Kiyemba v. Bush).


The 5 “non-combatant” Uighurs were relocated to Albania. The remaining 17 Uighurs were sent to Camp VI, where they were held in solitary confinement through fall of 2008. At Camp VI, the Uighurs were deprived of nearly all “social interaction [and] exposure to sunlight” and “suffered deep despair.”


The remaining Uighur detainees were removed from solitary confinement and relocated to Camp Iguana. On October 8, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered the release of the 17 Uighur detainees in Kiyemba v. Bush.


In February, D.C. Circuit Court struck down Urbina’s order. The petitioners filed their writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

4 Uighurs were resettled in the Bermudas and 6 were transferred to Palau.


2 Uighurs were transferred to Switzerland.


2 Uighur detainees were resettled in El Salvador. 3 Uighurs remain held in Guantanamo.

SOURCES: Court documents filed in Kiyemba v. Bush and Kiyemba v. Obama.  


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3 Comments on “Timeline of Uighur detainees wrongfully held at Guantanamo

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