Justice is finally occuring for the 17 Uyghurs who have languished in Guantanamo’s prison for nearly seven years. But it’s very complicated.
Four Uyghurs were relocated from Guantanamo to the island of Bermuda. This angered:
- China, which opposes releasing Uyghurs to anywhere but China. (We apparently allowed Chinese intelligence agents to participate in or at least observe the interrogation of Uyghurs at Gitmo. GWB sure had backbone!)
- Great Britain, which didn’t learn about the deal until it was almost done. Bermuda is a British territory.
- Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, and other right-wing sensationalists who stupidly insist the Uyghurs are terrorists.
Most of the folks at Gitmo fought against the US in Afghanistan. A good number were part of Al Qaeda. But not all.
In 2005, the Bush Administration declared that the Uyghurs were not terrorists and shouldn’t have been imprisoned. Some were kidnapped by Pakistani entrepreneurs who sold them to the CIA, claiming they were Al Qaeda. Others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong color of skin.
The Uyghurs are ethnic Chinese who, facing persecution at home, relocated to Afghanistan in search of a better life (most of us would not have chosen Afghanistan). Some may or may not have been seeking the overthrow of the Chinese government, as the Chinese government insists they were.
The first four to be released are now free men in Bermuda. The remaining 13 Uyghurs will be resettled on Palau, an island in the South Pacific.
Fox News, of course, us up in arms about releasing the Uyghurs. They didn’t oppose releasing them in 2005, when Bush was in office. But now that Obama is President, they think releasing innocent Uyghurs to “a tropical vacation” is the worst of sins.
They were torn from spouses, children, and parents seven years ago. They’ve been unjustly imprisoned for seven years. They were uprooted from a land they had made home, and will now be forced to make a new life in a totally foreign country. As a Christian seeking justice for the innocent and powerless: LET THEM GO.