Last Uyghur captives leave Guantanamo Bay
December 31st, 2013
12:16 PM ET

Last Uyghur captives leave Guantanamo Bay

By Jamie Crawford

The United States has transferred the final three ethnic Chinese Uyghur captives from the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper were sent to Slovakia where they were "voluntarily" resettled, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

"The United States is grateful to the government of Slovakia for this humanitarian gesture and its willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility," he added.

The Obama administration notified Congress of its intent to transfer the detainees, Kirby said.

The Pentagon has stepped up the process of transferring inmates from Guantanamo but 155 still remain there.

President Barack Obama last week again blamed Congress for hindering his efforts to close the facility, set up to house terror suspects following the 9/11 attacks.

Congress approved legislation this month making it easier to move inmates to third countries, but still blocking attempts to transfer them to U.S. soil.

Some 17 Uyghurs were apprehended in Pakistan in 2001 following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo.

They initially settled in an Afghan camp with other Uyghurs opposed to the Chinese government before the war started.

Uyghurs are a Muslim minority from the Xinjiang province in western China. The Chinese government alleged those sent to Guantanamo were part of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – a group that operates in Xinjiang and is on the State Department's list of terror organizations.

The United States refused to send past Uyghur detainees cleared for release to China fearing they would be tortured. But Beijing maintained that would not occur.

Other Uyghurs released from Guantanamo have resettled in Bermuda and Palau.

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Filed under: China • Gitmo
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. carl osborne

    There is no doubt that all 17 Uyghurs previously held at Gitmo are terrorists, or at least potential terrorists. They were caught in Afghanistan, most probably training with Al Qaida, so how can they not be violent fundamentalists? Hopefully, they don't end up terrorizing their new host countries or travel to Western Europe. They should have been left to rot at Gitmo or elsewhere. Better yet, make them "disappeared" mysteriously like how many violent Islamic fundamentalists treat their enemies.

    May 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  2. shawbrooke

    I do no hear any calls from outside of Washington for those in Guantanamo to be released into the US. Whatever is Obama thinking?

    January 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  3. Ehsan

    1) If they were guilty, why they were let go?
    2) If they were not guilty, why they were kept for so long in Gtmo?
    3) If they were guilty, why were they sent to Slovakia "on humanitarian ground".. they were not sick or so.. and why they were not truely punished in accordance of law
    4) If they were not guilty, why sending them to Slovakia, drop them back where you picked them up....

    January 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Reply
    • Silverado

      These brutal Muslim terrorists should have been hanged.

      January 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Reply
      • Quest

        I understand how you feel. The ones that we know that are guilty should remain at Gitmo period. The geographic location is ideal and expensive. There have been a few picked up that is probably questionable. That's my concern. Closing this place I feel is a mistake. Give them rights under the U.S. system no way, Our stateside system would not work. What system will work I do not have an answer. The ones truly guilty are not religious in any way shape or form they are nothing.

        January 2, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
      • Quinton

        Please Silverado, lose the "affluenza". It's causing you to hate too much! Besides, one would think that you're some kind of uneducated, hateful, hillbilly Tea Partier from the South, judging by your post above.

        January 2, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
      • Trevor

        Quinton- using the term "hateful" and then in the same sentence labeling someone as a hillbilly from the South... Can you actually walk a straight line without stubbling due to the blatant "blinders" you have on? Take the plank out of you own eye before pointing out the speck in you neighbors pal...

        January 3, 2014 at 9:05 am |
      • Kraznodar

        These "brutal Muslim terrorists" were not enemies of the USA when they were captured and subsequent interrogation showed that despite being detained by the USA, they had no ill will towards us. They did however, want to wage war on China. We couldn't repatriate them to China because they would likely be harmed (with good reason) by that government. That left bringing them to the mainland which isn't a good idea because the methods used to interrogate them are what civilized people call torture and are thus very unreliable. This means that they may actually hate us (with good reason) but hide it well. The only option left is to keep them at Gitmo or find a country far from China that will take them. Slovakia agreed to take them which gets them free, protects China, protects them from China and saves the USA millions of dollars.

        January 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • Quinton

      It's all politics, Ehsan. The right-wing thugs are doing this to these men simply because it's the "politically correct" thing to do!

      January 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Reply
      • Quest

        Let people have their say and talk. Don't tell them what you think they are. That never works and never will..You gave me an opinion earlier and I gave my opinion on what I have to say. That is a discussion. There is no point in calling people names . Just leave it at that no disrespect. The anti George patton talks what he has to say all the time here and he is coated in snake oil but he is respectful in his own way if you want to mix words with him. I don't recommend that.

        January 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
      • Quest

        Made a mistake you did not call people names my apology Im sorry on that.

        January 2, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
  4. Quest

    Should Gitmo be closed? I say no. Should the rules be changed on the way it is managed? I say most definitely. Are innocent people being held? I don't know. Transfer prisoners to American soil, no way. After reading many stories pro and con it looks like it will stay around for a while and it will not close anytime in the near future. I have a problem in the way it was managed but closing it because of just that and I'm going to say no.

    January 2, 2014 at 7:31 am | Reply
    • Quinton

      Gee Quest, you sound like you have a case of "affluenza"! Of course at least 85 to 90% of those held at Gitmo are innocent as anyone with half a brain would know. I bet if you spend one day there you'd be screaming to get out in a hurry! Besides, as an American, aren't you ashamed of what's going on there?

      January 2, 2014 at 9:21 am | Reply
      • Quest

        I disagree with the way it is managed. Being held with no hope of anything is wrong for the presumed innocent. The way it is managed is a disgrace. The tactics being used there I`m against and not being charged with a crime I`m against. The facility is just a facility.

        January 2, 2014 at 9:42 am |
  5. Arnold

    Muslim terrorists!

    January 2, 2014 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • Kraznodar

      Nazi terrorist!

      See how that works? You post something idiotic and I turn it back on you. When you are ready to play at the grown-up table and can make actual sentences feel free to come back.

      January 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  6. George patton

    they were sent to Slovakia!! huh? they don't want to return to their country of origin China, but go somewhere else and fight United States!! Only American bleeding hearts can accept their demands.

    January 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Reply
    • Judge Jean Boyd in Texas

      Thank you, Funny Boy. I totally agree. Like you say, these freethinkers have it all wrong. They need to put more political prisoners in Gitmo, not let more out!!!!!

      January 2, 2014 at 1:02 am | Reply
  7. Smitty

    Im sure the released will jump right back into society and will be real productive -- NOT

    January 1, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • Bruno Brown

      Spoken like a true American, as I'm sure you would behave in the way you mentioned.Gitmo is a disgrace to America

      January 1, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Reply
      • Silverado

        Muslims are a disgrace to humanity. Islamic terrorism is a disgrace to morality and basic decency.

        January 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
  8. Mike

    These Muslim Uyghur terrorists were living and training in Pakistan, where the living conditions are dismal. Compared to living in Pakistan, Gitmo living was more like a cozy vacation for these terrorists and there were getting too comfortable in Gitmo. Kicking them out of Gitmo will now feel like a punishment to these miserable creatures. The US is kind enough not to send them back to Pakistan.

    January 1, 2014 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • Bruno Brown

      See Bruno Brown's comment to Smitty, you seem to have the same mentality !!!

      January 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  9. Kpax

    I agree one thing no Gitmo prisoners on U.S. soil.

    December 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Reply
    • Mark Rushing

      ....nor anywhere else, Kpax. Those men have no business being in the hands of their tormentors anymore, anywhere, period!!!

      December 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
      • Kpax

        I don't consider Gitmo U.S. soil.

        January 1, 2014 at 7:25 am |
  10. George patton

    While this is a step in the right direction, the rest of these political prisoners need to simply be released since they had to undergo so much torture while they were there. Gitmo is truly a national disgrace to all of us Americans and we should all feel ashamed!!! I just extend my thanks to Slovakia for it's kind gesture in this.

    December 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • Silverado

      The Muslim terrorists in Gitmo are a true disgrace to humanity and all Muslims should feel ashamed!!! I just extend my thanks to the brave soldiers and smart CIA operatives who captured these Muslim terrorists and put them in Gitmo.

      December 31, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Reply
      • Jack Hollis

        Good grief Silverado, you sound like someone who has been programmed into the hateful, right-wing Tea Party Movement. Have you been, Silverado? In fact, our "brave" soldiers there tortured these men despite the fact that at least 85% of them never did anything wrong in the first place! They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!

        January 1, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
      • Bruno Brown

        You are a sick puppy!

        January 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm |

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