Final 3 Uighur prisoners moved from U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay
The United States has transferred three Uighur Muslim detainees to Slovakia from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, American officials said on Tuesday.
They were the last members of the ethnic minority from China held in the prison.
The trio had languished at Guantanamo for more than a decade since their capture in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — despite military assessments they had no ties to al-Qaida or the Taliban.
In 2008, a federal judge ruled that the Uighurs were being held unlawfully and ordered their release. Their transfer was delayed by repeated legal wrangling and attempts to find a country willing to accept them.
The Pentagon described the transfer as a “significant milestone.” Eight other prisoners have been moved from the controversial detention facility since August, including two Saudis and two Algerians who returned to their countries earlier this month. An additional 155 detainees remain.
President Obama last week reaffirmed his commitment to shutter the prison at Guantanamo, despite resistance from Republican lawmakers.
“The continued operation of the facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners and emboldening violent extremists,” he said.
Returning the detainees to China was not an option for the United States because of fears that they might be treated harshly. A senior military official said the Chinese have put tremendous pressure on countries in an effort to stop them from taking any Uighurs.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.