Thursday, August 25, 2005

Uighurs At Gitmo

"Ironic" doesn't really begin to cover it. Read this Washington Post article about the plight of some Chinese detainees in detention at Guantanamo:
In late 2003, the Pentagon quietly decided that 15 Chinese Muslims detained at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be released. Five were people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, some of them picked up by Pakistani bounty hunters for U.S. payoffs. The other 10 were deemed low-risk detainees whose enemy was China's communist government -- not the United States, according to senior U.S. officials.

More than 20 months later, the 15 still languish at Guantanamo Bay, imprisoned and sometimes shackled, with most of their families unaware whether they are even alive.

They are men without a country. The Bush administration has chosen not to send them home for fear China will imprison, persecute or torture them, as the United States charges has happened to other members of China's Muslim minority. But the State Department has also been unable to find another country to take them in, according to U.S. officials and recently filed court documents.
This is a horrific story. These men are from all accounts innocent of any terrorist or illegal activity, and yet they are locked up indefinitely in Guantanamo, kept as prisoners, at times chained to the floor. They were not even informed by US officials that they'd been cleared of any wrongdoing against the US for several months after the fact.

And, in spite of all this, the Bush Administration refuses to grant these men asylum in the United States:
This month, lawyers and human rights groups appealed to the United States to take in the stranded Uighurs. "It's not like these people were once considered to be a threat and now are not," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "These people need to be released, either in another country or the U.S. They're America's responsibility."

But the Bush administration has balked at allowing them to enter the United States, even under restricted supervision, or to appear in a court that is hearing two of the men's cases, according to U.S. officials and court documents.

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