Four Guantanamo Detainees to Reside in Bermuda

By Richey, Warren | The Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

Four Guantanamo Detainees to Reside in Bermuda


Richey, Warren, The Christian Science Monitor


Four of 17 Chinese Muslims long held at the US terror detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been released for resettlement in Bermuda.

The four arrived early Thursday after a day of reports that the men, all members of the Uighur ethnic group in western China, might be sent to Palau in the South Pacific.

Resettlement options for the 13 remaining Uighurs at Guantanamo are unclear.

Four Uighurs were accompanied on a charter flight from Guantanamo by two of their lawyers. Upon arrival at 6 a.m., they thanked the government and people of Bermuda.

"Growing up in communism, we always dreamed of living in peace and working in a free society like this one," said Abdul Nasser, in a statement released by his lawyers. "Today you have let freedom ring."

The men have been approved to participate in Bermuda's guest worker program for foreigners. In addition to Mr. Nasser, they were identified as Huzaifa Parhat, Abdul Semet, and Jalal Jalaladin.

They are among 17 Uighurs ordered released from Guantanamo by a federal judge in October. The judge instructed the government to admit them into the United States pending any further resettlement. That portion of the ruling was reversed in February by a federal appeals court panel. In the meantime, the Uighurs remained confined in a special part of the Guantanamo detention camp. They were afforded more privileges than other detainees but remained behind fences and razor wire.

Each of the four had been cleared for release by the US government at least twice. The process included a threat evaluation conducted recently by the Obama administration, a Justice Department statement said.

"According to available information, these individuals did not travel to Afghanistan with the intent to take any hostile action against the United States," the statement said.

Their lawyers say the men had been living in a Uighur camp in Afghanistan and fled to Pakistan after the US invasion and bombing began in 2001. Pakistani bounty hunters sold the men to the US military, and they were eventually transferred to Guantanamo. …

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