China worse than Gitmo, say detainees freed in Bermuda

June 14th, 2009 - 7:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 14 (ANI): The four Chinese Guantanamo detainees, released in Bermuda, have claimed that life in China, where they face persecution, is worse than life at Gitmo.

Fox News quoted the detainees known as Uighurs, who range from 31 to 38 years old, as saying that they are innocent, glad to be free and hold no grudges against the United States for their captivity.

Denying past allegations that they had aided Osama Bin Laden’s escape, they-with a translator’s help-said that they had never had any link with the Al Qaeda.

“I am not a terrorist. I have never been terrorist. I want to live peacefully,” one of them said.

The Uighurs are staying at a guest cottage complex on the island without security or electronic monitoring, but their attorney said they will have to periodically check in with local police.

The release of the Uighurs comes amid increasing political tensions in Washington over what to do with the more than 200 detainees being held at the Guantanamo facility following President Obama’s pledge to close the facility within a year of taking office.

With US Justice Department’s declaration that the Uighurs should no longer be classified as “enemy combatants,” they are among the least threatening Gitmo detainees.

The Uighurs will be eligible for Bermudian passports in the future, but the U.S. has a mechanism in place to block their entry into the U.S.

Their attorney says the Uighurs want to stay in Bermuda as part of a guest worker program, which has a provision to allow guest workers to get Bermudian citizenship in limited cases.

However, the transfer of the Uighurs has been criticized not only by U.S. Republican lawmakers but by the governments of the United Kingdom, which controls the territory of Bermuda, and China, which wants the Uighurs returned.

But the Bermudan government defended its decision to take the Uighurs, whom the U.S. feared would face torture if sent back to China.

Meanwhile, the Uighurs said they also may open a restaurant and look forward to swimming and fishing. (ANI)

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