The Guantánamo Files: Additional Chapters Online – Escape to Pakistan (Uyghurs and others)

25.10.08

The Guantanamo FilesI’ve just posted the sixth of 12 additional online chapters supplementing my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press/the University of Michigan Press). This additional chapter complements Chapter 7 of The Guantánamo Files, looking at the stories of 15 prisoners not mentioned in the book. They were amongst the 250 or so prisoners (almost a third of Guantánamo’s entire population) who were captured crossing from Afghanistan to Pakistan in December 2001. The others seized at this time (mainly Saudis and Yemenis) are discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, and in the additional online chapters here, here and here.

Featuring some stories that were not available at the time of writing, and others that were excluded to keep the book at a manageable length, this additional chapter also focuses on the stories of eight of the 18 Uyghurs (or Uighurs), Chinese Muslims who had fled persecution in their homeland, and were living in a run-down settlement in the Tora Bora mountains.

Unconnected with either al-Qaeda or the Taliban, the Uyghurs have long been the most unfortunate group of prisoners at Guantánamo, and their story is currently very topical, as, after years of abuse, neglect and political manipulation by the authorities, their release into the United States was ordered by a District Court judge on October 7. The government has appealed, reviving long-discredited claims that the men remain a threat to the United States, but I hope the stories in this additional chapter help to demonstrate that the opposite is true; that the Uyghurs have only one enemy (the Chinese government), and that they have long looked to the United States as a potential savior, and a beacon of democracy.

Note: The first two additional online chapters are available here and here, and see the left-hand column for the other six.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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