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Chinese Uighur Guantanamo detainee pleads for release in letter

[JURIST] Seventeen Chinese Uighur Muslims detained at Guantanamo Bay for six years have still not been told why they are being held at the military facility, according to a letter [DOC text] written by one of the detainees and released by his lawyers Wednesday. According to Abdulghappar Turkistani, he and other Uighur detainees hoped that the US would soon release them to a safe country; lawyers say that they would face persecution [BBC report] for their Muslim faith [HRW backgrounder] if returned to China. Turkistani said that the detainees were told they would be released as early as 2005, but US authorities have said that they have so far been unsuccessful in finding a country willing to provide refuge to the men. BBC News has more. AP has additional coverage.

In 2006, five Chinese Uighur detainees were released to Albania [JURIST report], where officials reviewed applications for asylum. The transfer, which was criticized by China, ended a court challenge against the detainees' indefinite detention [JURIST report]. In December 2006, lawyers for seven Uighur detainees filed a lawsuit [JURIST report], arguing that the process by which they were determined to be enemy combatants was flawed.

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