China Objects to Uighur Detainees' Transfer
VOA News 25 March 2010
China's Foreign Ministry has expressed opposition to the U.S. transfer of two Chinese Muslims – also known as Uighurs – from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Switzerland.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing, Qin Gang, raised the objection in comments to reporters Thursday.
The U.S. Justice Department announced the transfer of the Uighurs Wednesday.
China has accused the Uighurs, who are from western Xinjiang region, of being separatists and terrorists, and has called for their return to China.
Twenty-two Uighurs were sent to the U.S. facility in Cuba after they were taken into custody by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001. The Pentagon has determined that they were not enemy combatants, and the United States has been searching for countries to take them.
American officials fear the detainees would be mistreated if they were returned to China.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by seven Uighurs seeking to be released into the United States. The court scrapped the hearing after each of the detainees received at least one resettlement offer from another country.
Several other countries have taken Uighur detainees.
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