US 'wants' Germany to take Guantanamo Uigurs

18th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

18 April 2006, BERLIN - The United States is pressing Germany to accept 15 Chinese Uigurs ready for release from Guantanamo in Cuba but who are unable to return home for fear of persecution, the newspaper Die Welt said in a story published Saturday.

18 April 2006

BERLIN - The United States is pressing Germany to accept 15 Chinese Uigurs ready for release from Guantanamo in Cuba but who are unable to return home for fear of persecution, the newspaper Die Welt said in a story published Saturday.

Uigurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic group with a large population in western China.

The 15 Uigurs have been held at Guantanamo since 2002, but Washington fears they could be tortured or abused if sent back to China and has been looking for another country to grant them sanctuary.

Germany was considered suitable because there is an Uigur exile community living in the southern state of Bavaria.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has so far ducked the issue, out of fear of offending China, which would regard such a move as an unfriendly act, the newspaper quoted diplomatic sources as saying.

But the matter is likely to come up again when Merkel holds talks with US President George Bush during a visit to Washington early next month, according to Die Welt.

The US feels countries such as Germany who have called for the closure of the Guantanamo camp have a moral duty to accept detainees being released, the paper said.

Washington has come under sharp criticism from human rights groups and other countries for the detentions at Guantanamo Bay on the grounds that the US administration has not afforded adequate due process to suspected terrorists.

DPA

Subject: German news

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