Last Uighur Captives Leave Guantanamo Bay

January 2, 2014

Camp_x-ray_detaineesThe United States has transferred the final three ethnic Chinese Uighur captives from the Guantanamo Bay prison, with Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper all sent to Slovakia.

While these were the last of the Uighurs to be transferred, Bermuda was among the first countries to take in Uighurs from Guantanamo Bay.

In July 2009 four men — Khaleel Mamut, Abdulla Abdulqadir, Salahidin Abdulahat, Ablikim Turahun — were released from the US detention centre at Guantanamo and resettled in Bermuda.

The Uighurs landed in Bermuda at around 6am on July 11, 2009 on a private jet, with Bermudians being made aware of their arrival approximately five hours later that day.

The four men were part of a group of Chinese nationals handed over to American forces in Afghanistan, but found years ago not to be “enemy combatants” and cleared of any and all charges. They were not repatriated to China due to fears of their safety upon return.

Controversy erupted after former Premier Dr. Ewart Brown’s decision to accept the Uighurs without first consulting Cabinet or Government House.

There were protests locally, and the British Government expressed its displeasure, stating that due to Bermuda’s status as an overseas territory they should have been consulted on the move.

Dr. Brown survived a vote of “no confidence” after Parliament rejected the resolution in a 22-11 vote after a marathon 14 hour debate, which went through the night.

Last year, lawyer Richard Horseman wrote to Premier Craig Cannonier suggesting that the Bermuda Government pass legislation that will grant the Uighurs, their spouses and children Bermuda status.

Mr Horseman said that the men “remain in limbo” and the “authors of their misfortune have now vanished into thin air. The men are left to fend for themselves. Premier, the time has now come to right this wrong.”

On Tuesday [Dec 31] Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said, “The Department of Defense is announcing today the transfer of Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik, and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Slovakia.

“These three are the last ethnic Uighur Chinese nationals to be transferred. They were subject to release from Guantanamo as a result of a court order issued on Oct. 7, 2008, by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and are voluntarily resettling in Slovakia.

“As directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of these cases.

“As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these individuals were designated for transfer by unanimous consent among all six agencies on the task force.

“In accordance with statutory reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals.

“The United States is grateful to the government of Slovakia for this humanitarian gesture and its willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. T

“he United States coordinated with the government of Slovakia to ensure the transfer took place in accordance with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.

“This transfer and resettlement constitutes a significant milestone in our effort to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

“Secretary Hagel remains grateful to the Defense Department’s Special Envoy Paul Lewis, and Department of State Special Envoy Cliff Sloan, for their and their respective teams’ many efforts that facilitated this successful transfer.”

155 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.

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Comments (19)

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  1. u ank sers says:

    send dem back china…who cares!!

    • kat says:

      Who cares I do! If they were white christian no one would complain

    • Lebron says:

      I expect they do, brainless.

      Of all Ewart Brown’s horribly dirty legacy, this has to be the least concerning. Let them live their lives, Bermuda has far worse problems than these 4 families. Grant them status and move on.

    • Sending them back is not a option based on the credibility of why the united States negotiated with Bermuda in the first place, put aside your damn hatred and look at it from a humanitarian point of view, we don’t have any proof that these men are guilty of any such crime that they was suppose to be there for in the first place.

      They have been in this country working hard and being law abiding citizens, I would like to take some of these *** around here and send them were these men came from, When a foreigner comes on these shores and lives a productive life we should be proud of what they offer to our society, we went through it with the Portuguese community, the West Indian, the Canadians, Americans and the Europeans and now we got the likes of every other nation in between, I think it is worst what we do to ourselves then what we think others do to us, I don’t agree with opening the flood gates for just anyone to come up in here but there are times that we must extend a hand to those who desperately need it such as these gentlemen, and it is no different when we took in the boat people of the Vietnam many years ago and many did not like it but those individuals became one of us and well respected and like to this day.

  2. X man says:

    Send them anywhere but here —–Not here please – we have our share already’
    unless the US is willing to pay off our 2 billion dollar debt -

  3. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Obama is full of $h** with his promises to do this and that.
    He’s nothing more than a puppet

    • You may not like President Obama but remember that it is because of the US. dollar that your sorry a* has a life of comfort to the degree that you do, because with out the U.S dollar we wont even have a so call banana boat to float as many have said about Jamaica, without the U.S dollar even Jamaica would be better off then us, they have something to offer, what does Bermuda, not a pot to pee in without our closes allies idiot.

      • Hmmm says:

        What has that got to do with Obama.

        • Passive Aggressif says:

          That’s what I wondered? Hasn’t the US dollar devalued under Obama???

          By the way Duane, perhaps you should take a look at the documentary “Life and Debt” if you want to know why Jamaica is in the situation that it is. Very interesting documentary that will open the eyes of many.

          They have lots of US tourists and business and do you honestly think if they switched and started using the US dollar all would be okay?

  4. Mile High Club says:

    Uighar Please! Its about time they shut Guantanamo down!

  5. Aunt says:

    We should allow the Uighurs to live their lives in Bermuda so long as Ewart gets to live in Guantanamo Bay!

    • I should not be laughing because that is not nice, but that is a thought provoking idea, an I have a few folk I think should go with him.

  6. Gangstar B**** says:

    They should go back were they come from. We have enough of our own that need placement!!!

  7. Voter says:

    Coming to Bermuda?

  8. ?? says:

    why give them status ?? we have people who have put 40 plus years in BDA and only have PRC, and they managed to have a live !