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23 September 2017 07:45 (South Africa)

Guantanamo detainees trade prison for South Pacific idyll

Six Chinese Muslims, released from Guantanamo, have traded life in prison for the Pacific nation of Palau, after a request from the US. The six, ethnic Uighurs have been in American custody since 2001. On arrival, Palau’s president, Johnson Toribiong, met them at the airport and said, “They appeared to be very happy.  They smiled, they thanked me, they called me brother. It's amazing. I feel really good about it.” The Pentagon decided they were not “enemy combatants” but they entered an “Alice in Wonderland”-like limbo as the US sought a place that would take them as part of Obama’s plan to close the detention facility. The men are from Xinjiang, the western region of China bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. The Turkic-speaking Muslims say they are repressed by China and feared arrest, torture or execution if they returned there. China has said they were leading an Islamist separatist movement and wants them returned. When last glimpsed, the men were choosing their bedrooms in the large house with ocean views. So how do the rest of us apply for a free house with ocean views in the South Pacific? Read more: Washington Post

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