The Pentagon announced on April 19 that two Uighur detainees were released from the US detention center at Guantánamo Bay to be transferred to El Salvador, where they have chosen to resettle. They are being released pursuant to a 2008 order by the US District Court for the District of Columbia. An executive order issued in 2009 mandated review of the cases by the Interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force (IGRTF), and all six agencies on the force gave consent to release the two detainees. The US said it has worked with El Salvador’s government to ensure that the two men arrive safely and are not harmed upon arrival, as well as to protect them against inhumane treatment at any stage of the transfer.
Of the 22 Uighurs originally detained at Guantánamo, 17 others have also accepted offers of relocation to other countries. Two Uighurs were transferred to Switzerland, six to Palau, four to Bermuda and five to Albania. The Chinese government maintains that the Uighurs 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 the Uighurs, citing fear of torture upon their return. This week’s announcement marks the first transfer from Guantánamo since 2011, with 169 detainees remaining at the facility.
From Jurist, April 20. Used with permission.
See our last post on the torture and detention scandals.