Released Uighurs Discuss Imprisonment at Guantanamo

From Bermuda, the four recently transferred Chinese Uighur Muslims, Abdulla Abdulqadir, Salahidin Abdulahad, Khalil Manut, and Ablikim Turahun, discuss the seven-plus years they spent in the United States' prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We'd never heard of al Qaeda until we came to Guantánamo and heard about them from our interrogators. "From what we have heard about them, they are an extremely radical group, with totally different ideals from ours. We are a peace-loving people."

The men said for a year of their imprisonment they were held in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day in a cramped cell with no natural light, and were allowed outside for a couple of hours a day in a three-metre by five-metre "recreation area".

Like many other of the Gitmo detainees, they were sold to the U.S. for cash after crossing into Pakistan: [More..]

They are doing better now:

The men are delighted to be in Bermuda and grateful to the Government for taking them when many larger countries refused. "Bermuda had the courage to step up and do this, "Mr. Abdulahad said. "It's a small place but the people have extremely big hearts. "We want to live a peaceful and beautiful life here and we are ready to work hard.

At least one local shopkeeper gets it. The four went in to buy clothes:

The radio was on inside and voices on a talk show were complaining about "terrorists" not being welcome in Bermuda.

The storekeeper looked at the men and quickly realised who they must be and said: "Well, I welcome you here."

Thanks again to Bermuda.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Heartwarming (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:21:32 PM EST
    I wish them well. I wouldn't have minded if they were resettled in the U.S. In My Backyard!

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:29:05 PM EST
    I'd welcome them in Denver. They've been through so much, we owe them.

    I would hold a big grudge (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:25:09 PM EST
    It sounds like they are nicer people than I am.

    I would like to prove (none / 0) (#3)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:27:56 PM EST
    that the American people--most of us--are nicer than the government that was responsible for their imprisonment!

    unfortunately... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:36:49 PM EST
    ...it is still OUR government doing this, and we control that government, no matter how much we might think we don't.  and until we control it in manner that never allows things like this to happen again, well, we're not nice people in a very profound and insidious way.  there are easy ways to be nice, and very difficult ways to be nice.  we are not close to the former yet.  although, i will say in our defense, at least we're not sending them back to china.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#8)
    by Natal on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 01:57:13 PM EST
    with what you're saying but would put it in a slightly different slant.  Our legally elected government represents the collective consciousness of the people. In no way IMHO can anyone absolve himself of his country's decision by saying I didn't vote for them. Each of us has to take some responsibility for what we have.

    This bit is really upsetting: (none / 0) (#6)
    by MsExPat on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12:51:42 PM EST
    They believed the Americans soon realised they were not terrorists and the men said they were not tortured at the hands of the US guards. In 2002, things got worse for a short period, when Chinese officials were allowed into the camp to question them. The men's lawyer, Sabin Willett, of Bingham McCutchen in Boston, believes the Americans allowed the Chinese in to try to secure the support of China, a fellow member of the UN Security Council, for the US invasion of Iraq, which took place in 2003.

    These Uighurs were fleeing Chinese persecution. That's why they were in Afghanistan. Even after our military figured out these guys were harmless, we allowed the Chinese military into Guantanamo to torture and terrorize them by threatening their families who were still in China.

    Why? Because the Bush regime needed China's vote on Iraq.

    Yet another shame in the litany of Guantanamo shames.

    I have trouble getting past the fact we (none / 0) (#7)
    by nycstray on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 01:18:43 PM EST
    paid for them!

    I can't get past (none / 0) (#9)
    by Cards In 4 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 03:24:11 PM EST
    the fact the U.S. did not tell London they were being sent to their protectorate until the deal was done.

    Great Britain gets China mad at them without a chance to even discuss it.


    welcome to Denver? (none / 0) (#10)
    by diogenes on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:27:49 PM EST
    So you'd welcome the alleged Al Qaida folks as well as the Uighurs?

    I live five miles from Charlie Manson (none / 0) (#11)
    by Repack Rider on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 09:49:30 PM EST
    Should I be worried?

    We've got one here in NYC (none / 0) (#12)
    by nycstray on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 11:00:20 PM EST
    as I type. It's really the least of my worries . . .

    you are unsubtle (none / 0) (#14)
    by diogenes on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:47:59 PM EST
    The point was that the Uighurs are eminently undangerous to the USA, whether or not they are are terrorists opposed to the Chinese.  Releasing them into Denver is quite safe for Denver.  The Al Qaida are avowed enemies of the US; they might not be a threat in supermax, but the proper analogy would be releasing them to Denver with political asylum if the government cannot prove a case beyond reasonable doubt in a civilian court.