China protests over Uighur transfer

Beijing reacts angrily to US resettlement of Guantanamo prisoners in Switzerland.

    The men were among 17 Uighurs held at the Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba

    "We have sent our strong representations to the related countries," he said.

    The two men were among a total of 17 Uighurs captured by US forces in Afghanistan in the invasion that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

    No threat

    The men said they were sheltering from repression by Chinese authorities in their home region of Xinjiang and the US government has since acknowledged that none of the Uighurs pose a security threat.

    But officials say they cannot return the men to China because they may face persecution or even possibly execution by Chinese authorities.

    As a result they have been stuck in legal limbo while US authorities try to find third countries willing to take the men in.

    Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim people native to China's far western region of Xinjiang, many of whom complain of repression at the hands of Chinese authorities.

    Last year Xinjiang's regional capital, Urumqi, was rocked by ethnic clashes between Uighurs and China's majority Han Chinese, in which at least 200 people died.

    The recent transfer of the two brothers to Switzerland means there are now five Uighurs left at the Guantanamo camp.

    Four others were resettled in Bermuda while Albania took five, and six went to the Pacific island of Palau, which has also offered to take the remaining five.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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