Should He Stay or Should He Go? Uighur Faces Dillemma
Although Guantanamo Bay detainee Bahtiyar Mahnut has been invited, along with 11 more of his fellow Chinese Uighurs, to settle in the island nation of Palau, it seems he’s decided not to go because Palau has not invited his 45-year-old older brother, Arkin Mahmud, to go with him. Palau has agreed to take 12 or 13 Uighurs left at Guantanamo Bay and cleared for release, but declined to invite Bahtiyar’s brother because, according to his lawyer, he suffers from serious mental problems after spending more than seven years at the U.S.-run prison.
As the Washington Post reports today, the story is even sadder given that the older brother was only captured because he went searching for Bahtiyar after the younger brother left their homeland eight years ago.
Like the other Uighurs, the brothers are Chinese Muslims who face persecution in China and can’t be returned there. Although they have never threatened nor plotted against the United States, they were seized in Afghanistan and Pakistan shortly after the United States launched its war on al-Qaeda and the Taliban after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.