WASHINGTON — The five remaining Chinese Muslims being held at Guantanamo Bay lost their latest bid yesterday to get the Supreme Court to hear their case.
The justices turned away a plea from the five detainees, who have been held at the US naval base in Cuba for nearly nine years.
The detainees had previously declined an offer to be resettled in the tiny Pacific nation of Palau, where six other Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, have gone to live. It is not clear why the five refused to go to Palau, or to a second, unidentified country that the Obama administration has said was willing to take them.
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for three of his colleagues, said he agreed with the court’s decision not to hear the case because of the two countries’ offers and “the government’s uncontested commitment to continue to work to resettle’’ the Uighurs. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor joined Breyer’s opinion.
Justice Elena Kagan, who worked on the case while serving in the Justice Department, did not take part in the court’s action yesterday.
The detainees wanted the court to consider whether a judge could order detainees released into the United States.
The United States has agreed for years that the Uighurs are not enemy combatants. China wants the Uighurs sent home, but they argue — and the administration agrees — that they could be tortured if they are sent to China.
In other action yesterday, the court rejected an appeal in a murder-for-hire plot after the star prosecution witness forged documents used at trial and lied about his military background.
The court said it will not review a divided appeals court ruling that, by a 6-to-5 vote, upheld the conviction of Idaho businessman David Hinkson for plotting to kill a federal judge, prosecutor, and tax agent. He is serving a 43-year prison term.