East Turkestan: Refugee To Settle in Sweden?
After being released from Guantanamo Bay and living an isolated life in Albania, a Uyghur refugee will most likely be allowed to settle with other family members in Sweden, finally ending an ordeal that began in 1999.
Below is an article published by Associated Press:
It's been a long journey: from
Adel Abdu Al-Hakim hopes it ends here, in his sister's tidy apartment in a suburb of the Swedish capital.
"I was in prison for four and a half years and during that time I thought to myself that maybe this is my life," Al-Hakim, 33, told The Associated Press in an interview. "Now I just want to live the life of a normal person."
Last week he arrived in
Al-Hakim was released last year from
But the Uighurs found themselves isolated and jobless in a nation where no one spoke their language.
Al-Hakim took advantage of an invitation to attend a human rights conference in
The chances for approval were uncertain. Al-Hakim likely will be allowed to stay pending a final decision, although authorities could deport him immediately if they determine his case has no merit.
"We have fought for a very long time and now we are very happy to be together," he said, surrounded by his sister Kavser and her daughters in the living room of the apartment in Sundbyberg.
He calmly recalled the tumultuous decade that brought him here.
After spending a year as a refugee in Kyrgyzstan, Al-Hakim and fellow Uighur Abu Bakker Qassim decided to move on to Turkey.
Their journey took them through
As bombs rained down on an Afghan mountain village where they had joined other Uighurs, the men fled to
Shackled and hooded, they were transferred to a prison camp in
"In the last interrogation in
The formal acknowledgment came only after a lengthy legal battle when a military tribunal ruled Al-Hakim and other Uighurs were not enemy combatants.
"Of course I was angry. I tried to hide my emotions but I still cried a lot," Al-Hakim said.
Lawyers in the
As he awaits a decision on asylum, the joy of being reunited with his sister and her family is tempered by the absence of his wife and children, who remain in
"I don't have the possibility to get them from over there. The Chinese authorities won't allow it," he said. "My children keep asking when I will come back ... why I don't want to come and get them, why all children have fathers and they don't."