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Australia Mulls Taking US Detainees

The Australian government says it is considering resettling some U.S. detainees from the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith confirmed the Obama administration has asked Australia to take some detainees, and said the government will consider the request on a "case-by-case basis".

Australia previously rejected two similar requests by former President George W. Bush.

The Sydney Morning Herald
reported Saturday that Australia is considering taking some of the 17 ethnic Uighurs being held at Guantanamo.

The Chinese Muslims were cleared for release from the detention center as early as 2003, but the United States says they cannot go back to China for fear they will be tortured there. The U.S. government is also trying to keep them from coming to the United States.

China says the Uighurs belong to a separatist terror group and wants the detainees returned.  China has also warned other nations not to accept them.

On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling blocking the Uighurs from being released into the United States.

The Justice Department said the government is still trying to find countries to take them.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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