Tales from the Trail

Uighurs held at Guantanamo plead to Obama for release

August 5, 2009

A group of the 13 Chinese detainees held at the controversial U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba appealed directly to President Barack Obama for their immediate release, arguing that they have been cleared by the United States of any wrongdoing and they questioned why it was taking so long to go free.

Cuba Guantanamo

The members of the Uighur ethnic group originally sent the appeal to Obama on March 8 but it was not cleared by the U.S. government for release until July 14, according to their attorneys. Two of the signatories have since been released to Bermuda, the lawyers said.

“After 6 years of investigations, the US military confirmed that we are innocent,” the Uighurs said in their letter. “We are innocent civilians, however, we are currently still being held in jail.”

In June four Uighurs were transferred from the Guantanamo prison to the Atlantic island of Bermuda. The entire group, who come from China’s largely Muslim far-west region of Xinjiang, were captured by the U.S. government during fighting in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in Washington and New York.

There has been some talk that the remaining 13 Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay could go to the tropical Pacific island of Palau, where the government has agreed to take them temporarily as a humanitarian gesture. China has demanded that they all be returned to Chinese soil but the United States has said it could not return them because they would face persecution.

“The State Department, in coordination with the Defense Department and other interested agencies, is working to make appropriate arrangements to carry out transfers of these individuals in a manner consistent with national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, as well as U.S. policies concerning humane treatment,” said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.

Obama has vowed to close Guantanamo prison by January 2010 and his administration has been trying to find places to send those detainees who have been cleared for transfer. But they have run into trouble finding countries willing to take former prisoners, particularly if the United States does not accept some of them as well.

“We do not believe that there is no country out there that would give us political asylum,” the letter said. “We do not believe that the U.S. government cannot find a solution for the Uighur issue here.”

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- Photo credit: Reuters/Brennan Linsley

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Turn them loose with a good chunk of cash to get restarted and an abject apology.

Posted by froggy | Report as abusive
 

Now this is a damn shame. Nearly every African American still living in America, know exactly what these “humans” are feeling.

I pray that President Obama listens to these gentlemen, and release them. To replace them, there’s Senator Ted Stevens, nearly every card carrying Republican on Wall Street, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and a whole host of white collar criminals, including judges, policemen, and other conservative politicians.

Posted by Cali Cal | Report as abusive
 

froggy how about sharing the 90 000 dollars with them they found in DEM jefferson,s freezer.if they need accommodation how about contacting DEM Wrangle he has some nice digs,which he rents out.or if the decide to settle in the Chicago a certain well known guy might be able to get them a house half price.if they need a mortgage contact DEM Chris Dodd he has connections in that field.if they want to make some money on the side get them to talk to the DEM chairman of the ethics committees wife,she has some good money making ideas.if they want a good litigation attorney John Edwards comes highly recommended.shall i carry on cali cal? probably waste of time with Reuters republicans are fair game,not so with the dems.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive
 

These people are fugitives from perscution, ethnic and religious. In the finest historical traditions of our country a refuge for such people we should give them asylum here and help them resettle.

Posted by wizzard13 | Report as abusive
 

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