Switzerland to accept two Uighur Gitmo detainees

The Swiss Federal Council announced Feb. 3 that it would accept two Uighur detainees from Guantánamo Bay. The council decided to admit the detainees for humanitarian reasons, despite the Chinese citizenship of both Uighurs and recent warnings by the Chinese Embassy that Switzerland would jeopardize relations with China by accepting the detainees. After psychological tests and further investigation, the Council concluded that the detainees did not pose a security threat. Authorities from the canton of Jura, where the detainees will be housed, announced that it was prepared to issue a residence permit. The Council has instructed the Federal Migration Office to approve the permits.

Of the 22 Uighurs originally detained at Guantánamo Bay, 15 have been relocated. Six Uighurs were transferred to Palau in October, four were sent to Bermuda last June, and five were received by Albania in 2006. In December, Albania announced that it would not accept any more Uighur detainees in an effort to preserve positive relations with China. (Jurist, Feb. 3)

See our last posts on the Uighurs and the detainment scandal.

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  1. Administration argues Uighur detainee appeal now moot
    The US Department of Justice Feb. 5 the Supreme Court to dismiss as moot an appeal filed by Uighurs detained at Guantánamo. The court granted certiorari in the case, known as Kiyemba I, in October to determine whether it is within the power of the judicial branch to order the release of detainees into the US. The Obama administration argues that the case is now moot after Switzerland agreed to accept the remaining two Uighurs for whom “resettlement” arrangements had not been reached. (Jurist, Feb. 7)

  2. Two Gitmo Uighurs transfered to Switzerland
    Two Uighurs held at Guantánamo Bay were transferred to Switzerland on March 24. Switzerland granted humanitarian type B residence permits allowing the two to live in the canton of Jura. Both have agreed to respect Swiss laws, learn the local language, and secure gainful employment. The US Department of Justice reported that the detainees had been cleared for release by the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force and were transferred pursuant to an agreement with the government of Switzerland. Of the 22 Uighurs originally detained at Guantánamo Bay, 15 others have also accepted offers of relocation to other countries. (Jurist, March 24)