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30-06-09, 15:54
Mon Jun 29, 5:32 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Supreme Court on Monday discreetly delayed until October a decision on whether Chinese Uighurs who are being held at Guantanamo Bay prison can be released in the United States.

Court aides told lawyers that no decision would be taken on the Uighurs "until October at the earliest."

No explanation was offered for the delay, but speculation was ripe that the nine Supreme Court justices did not want to be seen to be interfering with diplomatic efforts to resettle the Uighurs.

Four of the Chinese Muslims were flown from the Guantanamo prison in Cuba to Bermuda earlier this month, and the Pacific island state of Palau has agreed to take the remaining 13 -- even though a number of the Uighur detainees have said they do not want to live in Palau.

The detainees were part of a group of 22 Uighurs living in a self-contained camp in Afghanistan when the US-led invasion of the country began in October 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks that year.

They said they had fled to Afghanistan to escape persecution in their vast home region of Xinjiang in western China.

The United States cleared them of any wrongdoing four years ago but continued to hold the Uighurs at Guantanamo Bay prison, due to fears they would be tortured if returned to China.

The Uighurs' case was simply omitted Monday -- the last day of the Supreme Court term before the long summer recess -- from an 11-page list of orders issued in the morning by the justices.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090629/pl_afp/uscourtjusticechinaguantanamodetainees