Sweden court grants asylum to former Uighur Guantanamo detainee

Sweden court grants asylum to former Uighur Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] Sweden's Migration Court [official website, in Swedish] on Wednesday granted [judgment, PDF, in Swedish; press release, in Swedish] asylum to former Uighur Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Adil Hakimjan [BBC backgrounder], also known as Adel Abdu Al-Hakim. The decision overruled a previous ruling by the Swedish Migration Board denying Hakimjan asylum. Hakimjan, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years, was one of five Uighurs released [JURIST report] in 2006 who were granted asylum in Albania. Hakimjan had applied for asylum in Sweden because he has a sister living there. The court cited the family relationship, the humanitarian nature of the request, and Hakimjan's detention at Guantanamo Bay as reasons for granting him residence as a refugee.

Also on Wednesday a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] reversed [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] an October district court order [opinion and order, PDF; JURIST report] that would have provided for the release of 17 Uighur Guantanamo Bay detainees into the US. The US government has determined that the Uighurs are not unlawful enemy combatants [10 USC § 948a text; JURIST news archive], but it has linked them with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) [CFR backgrounder], a militant group that calls for separation from China and has been a US-designated terrorist group since 2002. Earlier this month, China renewed its demand [JURIST report] for the Uighurs to be repatriated. Despite the demands, the US government has been hesitant to release the Uighurs back to China, fearing they will be tortured upon their return.