There are some that still remain in Guantanamo but many of them have been settled elsewhere in countries that are willing to accept them. And that’s difficult to find because many countries don’t want to anger China by accepting them. But the Uyghurs were swept up with others sold by Pakistani forces to the U.S. I find their cases some of the saddest because many of them — they’ve told me when they were handed over from Pakistan to the Americans, they were overjoyed. They thought, ‘Oh great, now we’re with the Americans. Everything will be fine. We love Americans! We oppose China and the U.S. stands up to China so isn’t this great.’
And it took a lot of them a long time to realize that they were in custody for a while. And their case was complicated by other events that happened. They were told when they got to Guantanamo that essentially their arrests had been a mistake — that they had been swept up with others — but they would be sent, released at some point. But then we had the Iraq War, and the U.S. needed China’s help in this so that complicated their case. And for many of them, it took years until they were released and they were only released when another country agreed to take them because they couldn’t be sent to China for fear of torture.
(Photo credit: Ashwaq Arrabyee)