When the Department of Justice this month asked a federal appeals court in Washington to black out information from a transcript of a Guantanamo Bay case that was argued in open court, the department did not publicly reveal the reason for the request, which was filed under seal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today granted the DOJ request to redact information from the transcript of Kiyemba v. Obama, a detainee case that was argued April 22 on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue in the case is whether a federal judge can compel the release of a detainee into the United States.
In its order today, a D.C. Circuit panel—Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Judith Rogers, with Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph—revealed the nature of the information the Justice Department wants kept secret: details of a resettlement offer for the detainees and the identity of the foreign country that made the offer.
None of the 17 original petitioners in the case, the appeals court noted in the order, accepted the resettlement offer that was made while the case was previously pending in the D.C. Circuit. The court has not ruled on the dispute since hearing argument April 22.
Seven Uighurs remain at Guantanamo Bay, according to court papers DOJ attorneys filed in the D.C. Circuit in March. In February, Switzerland said it would accept two detainees. The other five detainees rejected a resettlement offer from Palau, DOJ attorneys Robert Loeb and Sharon Swingle said in the court papers.
"All five also received an offer of resettlement from another country, but they did not accept that offer either, and it was withdrawn after several months," the DOJ attorneys said. "The United States continues its efforts to identify an appropriate country in which to resettle these five Uighurs, and is prepared to pursue the matter further with Palau upon their request."
DOJ lawyers said the identity of the second country has not been revealed due to "sensitive diplomatic negotiations."