|United States Resettles Four Uighur
Detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the Government of
Four detainees Abdulla Abduqadir, Salahidin Ablehet,
Helil Mamut, and Ablikim Turahun, Chinese nationals of Uighur ethnicity
who had been held at the
Guantanamo Bay detention facility, have been resettled
in Bermuda. These detainees, who were subject to release
as a result of court orders, had been cleared for
release by the prior administration, which determined
they would no longer treat them as enemy combatants. The
detainees were again cleared for release this year after
review by the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force.
As directed by the President’s January 22, 2009,
Executive Order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task
Force conducted a comprehensive review of the four,
including a threat evaluation, and approved them for
resettlement. The detainees left Guantanamo Bay today
pursuant to an arrangement between the United States and
the Government of Bermuda.
The Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim minority from the
Xinjiang province of far-west China. The Uighurs
currently at Guantanamo Bay left China and made their
way to Afghanistan, where most eventually settled in a
camp with other Uighurs opposed to the Chinese
government. After the United States conducted aerial
strikes in the area in October 2001, the Uighurs from
that camp fled to Pakistan and were later apprehended.
According to available information, these individuals
did not travel to Afghanistan with the intent to take
any hostile action against the United States.
This marks the first time since 2006 that the U.S.
government has successfully resettled any of the
Guantanamo Uighur population. In 2006, five Uighurs were
transferred to Albania; there have been no reports of
post-resettlement engagement in criminal behavior or
"By helping accomplish the President’s objective of
closing Guantanamo, the transfer of these detainees will
make America safer," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
"We are extremely grateful to the government of Bermuda
for its assistance in the successful resettlement of
these four detainees, and we commend the leadership they
have demonstrated on this important issue."
Since 2002, more than 540 detainees have departed
Guantanamo for other countries including Albania,
Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain,
Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Iran,
Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives,
Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia,
Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United
Kingdom and Yemen.