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Uighur Gitmo inmates appeal to Germany

The Local · 10 Jun 2009, 08:40

Published: 10 Jun 2009 08:40 GMT+02:00

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“Our clients implore the government to open the door to Germany for them,” one of their lawyers Seema Saifee told the website of news magazine Der Spiegel on Wednesday.

She said this would help encourage other European countries to also accept the Uighurs, a Muslim minority group living predominately in western China.

With the United States aiming to shut down the controversial prison for suspected terrorists by January 2010, Washington is reportedly hoping German would accept nine of the inmates, who are not considered dangerous. But there are fears they could be persecuted should they return to China.

Saifee recently visited her four clients at the prison camp and she said they were prepared to commit to a comprehensive guarantee of their good intentions.

The lawyer said the men had been “upset and disappointed” by the critical attitude of Germany Interior Ministry in the matter. She emphasised none of her clients had ever been trained by either the Taliban or the terror organisation al Qaida.

“The Uighurs see Germany with the largest Uighur community in Europe as the best way to end their imprisonment for nearly a decade at Guantanmo Bay,” she said.

But now the pacific island nation of Palau has agreed to take them in.

Story continues below…

The tiny country of 20,000 announced on Wednesday it would be "honoured" to be asked by the United States to offer the Uighurs a home, potentially letting Germany off the hook.

The Associated Press reported Washington was willing to give Palau $200 million in aid in return for accepting the Guantanamo inmates, but the US State Department denied there was any deal cut to facilitate the matter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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