Sunday, June 10, 2007

Not guilty but without a country ...

The New York Times is running this bizarre story about some Chinese Uighur's who spent 4 years in Guantanamo Bay ...

Ahktar Qassim Basit says he is not angry about the four years he spent as an American prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, before his captors mumbled a brief apology and flew him to this drab Balkan capital to begin a new life as a refugee.

It is this new life in Albania, Mr. Basit and other former Guantánamo detainees say, that is driving them to desperation.

The men, Muslims from western China’s Uighur ethnic minority, were freed from their confinement in Cuba after they were found to pose no threat to the United States. They have now lived for more than a year in a squalid government refugee center on the grubby outskirts of Tirana, guarded by armed policemen.


Imagine ... Only Albania’s pro-American government would give them asylum, but Albanian officials have since told the men they cannot afford to give them much else.

Things could be worse, the former prisoners note. At least 15 of the 17 Uighurs who remain at Guantánamo have also been cleared for release, but not even Albania will accept them — and neither will the United States. Instead, American diplomats say they have asked nearly 100 countries to provide asylum to the detainees, only to find that Chinese officials have warned some of the same countries not to accept them.

4 comments:

V-Grrrl said...

Cindy volunteers with Human Rights Watch and is directly involved in a very similar case right now. She spends her days lobbying the powers that be for this cause.

womanwandering said...

It occured to me later but Colin Powell famously said of Iraq - 'You break it, you own it'.

I think anyone incarcerated in that hell hole called Guantanamo ... especially incorrectly incarcerated ... especially for 4 years ... should have automatic right to whichever country wrongfully imprisoned them ... as it, 'you broke them, you own them'.

traveller one said...

I'm a little concerned that they called Tirana "drab". It certainly doesn't seem that way to my eyes. But I can only imagine the living conditions these guys have to put up with... now they must be far worse than "drab".

womanwandering said...

I thought of you as I was reading this Kim, and I knew from your posts that Tirana's not drab but surely it's all about how they have to live now.