East Turkestan: US Considers Release of Guantanamo Uyghurs
A U.S. judge says he's considering the release of a group of Uighur Muslims held for seven years at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp.
The U.S. government no longer considers the ethnic Uighurs to be "enemy combatants."
Unlike other captives, they cannot be sent to China because they might be tortured.
The Washington Post reported Sunday [05 October 2008] if U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina does order their release, it's likely the Uighurs would seek to live in the Washington D.C. area, where there is a Uighur community.
The judge is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday [7 October 2008] that will examine whether he has the power to order the release of at least five of the Uighurs. Their attorneys have filed court papers asking the judge to also consider releasing 12 other Uighurs who remain in custody.
"You can't hold people just because it's politically expedient," one of the lawyers, Susan Baker Manning, said in an interview.
Historical records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4000 years. Throughout the history the Uyghurs developed a unique culture and civilization and made remarkable contribution to the civilization of the world.
East Turkistan has 8 million Uighurs.
After embracing Islam the Uyghurs continued to preserve their cultural dominance in Central Asia. World renowned Uyghur scholars emerged, and Uyghur literature flourished. Among the hundreds of important works surviving from this era are the Kutat-ku Bilik by Yusuf Has Hajip (1069-70), Divan-i Lugat-it Turk by Mahmud Kashgari, and Atabetul Hakayik by Ahmet Yukneki.
East Turkistan was occupied by the communist China in 1949 and its name was changed in 1955. The communist China has been excersizing a colonial rule over the East Turkistan since then.