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U. S. sends 4 enemy combatants from Gitmo to resort island

No longer a threat, they're resettled in Bermuda
June 11, 2009 6:15:26 AM PDT
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder early this morning announced that the Department of Justice was sending four Chinese nationals who had been held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to Bermuda. The detainees 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.

"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" according to a statement from the Justice Dept. The four former enemy combatants were Uighurs, are a Turkic Muslim minority from the Xinjiang province of far-west China. They were among a Uighur population that left China for Afghanistan, where most eventually settled in a camp with other Uighurs opposed to the Chinese government. according to American officials, "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 morning's relocation to Bermuda is the first time in three years that the U.S. government has resettled any of the Guantanamo Uighur population.

"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."

The government says that more than 540 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries since 2002. Today marks the first time the Atlantic resort island of Bermuda has become a destination. Other host countries were: 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.


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