Six Uighur Gitmo detainees released to Palau

Six Chinese Uighur Guantánamo Bay detainees were transferred to the Republic of Palau Oct. 31, according to the US Department of Justice. The six men, Ahmad Tourson, Abdul Ghappar Abdul Rahman, Edham Mamet, Anwar Hassan, Dawut Abdurehim and Adel Noori, were relocated to a home in the middle of Koror, the commercial center of the island nation, where they will be among a Muslim population of about 500. The DoJ said the men had been cleared for release under the Bush administration, as they were no longer considered unlawful enemy combatants. The men had also been subject to review by the Joint Task Force for Guantánamo detainees, and were approved for release. With the transfer, seven Uighurs remain in custody at Guantánamo.

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of the remaining Uighur detainees. In June, Palau President Johnson Toribiong said that his country was willing to accept all 17 of the Uighur detainees held at Guantánamo Bay. Following that statement, four of the Uighurs were transferred to Bermuda. The Chinese government has repeatedly demanded the repatriation of the Uighurs, maintaining that they are members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a militant group that calls for separation from China and has been a US-designated terrorist group since 2002. The US has previously rejected China’s calls to repatriatethe Uighurs, citing fear of torture upon their return. (Jurist, Nov. 1)

See our last post on Gitmo and the Uighurs.

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  1. Palau seeks to transfer Uighurs —already
    From the Australian Broadcasting Corp., Nov. 4:

    Palau is urging Australia to accept a group of Chinese Muslim Uighurs who spent seven years in detention at the Guantanomo Bay detention centre.

    Six of the men were accepted by Palau over the weekend, but there are now efforts to find them a permanent home.

    Palau President Johnson Toribiong says it is best in the long-term that they move to a country with an established Uighur community, and has Australia in mind.

    There are concerns the Federal Government may not want to damage its relationship with China.