Thursday, June 22, 2006

Five men

Five men, cleared of terrorism charges, but held at Guantanamo for years until being released recently to Albania of all places. That sucks.

ABC covered the story back in May. The Wall Street Journal had something on June 1. NPR also has a bit from May 30. The Turkish Weekly has something from yesterday. But I’m surprised more Americans are not talking about this.

I found out about them through the Swedish radio program Konflikt which has run two broadcasts on these men. One on June 3 and another on June 17. One of the men has an older sister living in Sweden and they are seeking asylum there. The Swedish government refuses to give the asylum, it seems because they want the US to take responsibility for the men. Here’s a Swedish blog on that offers a different interpretation.

Svenska regeringen kritiserar USA för att de inte släpper fångarna på Guantanamo fria och när USA gör detta vill regeringen inte ta emot dem! Fem uigurer med ursprung Kina vägras inresa för att troligtvis inte störa de kinesiska handelsrelationerna, som är värt stora summor för Sverige. Mänskliga rättigheter väger lätt när man väger asylansökanmöjlighet gentemot svenska affärsmännens stora enningintressen i Kina.

“The Swedish government criticizes the US for not releasing the prisoners at Guantanamo but when the US does release some the government won’t accept them! Five Uighers from China were refused entry into Sweden presumably because the government did not want to disrupt trade relations, which are worth a lot of money for Sweden. Humans rights are not worth much when you weigh the possibility of asylum seeking against Swedish business’s big money interests in China.”

There’s a lot of odd posturing going on around these guys while they sit in limbo in Albania. The official US answer?

Question: Are the Chinese Uighur detainees in Guantanamo Bay eligible to seek asylum in the United States? If not, why?

Answer: The United States continues to explore all options regarding the resettlement of the Uighur detainees at Guantanamo. A prerequisite to seeking asylum in the United States is establishing physical presence in the United States. Further questions regarding asylum should be directed to the Department of Homeland Security.

So we can't give them asylum in the US because they aren't IN the US.

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