Archive for Friday, June 12, 2009

4 former Guantanamo detainees released

June 12, 2009

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— Four Guantanamo detainees from arid, predominantly Muslim western China were transferred to this very proper British colony Thursday, marking an unexpected new chapter in their odyssey.

Freed after being locked up seven years, the four men were given ties during their flight to the island and their lawyers gave quick lessons in how to knot them. They kept a low profile after landing and declined to talk with journalists.

They arrived just as islanders were starting to celebrate Bermuda’s 400th year of settlement. But Washington’s surprise announcement of the transfer set off grumbling by some islanders, and the colonial rulers in London bristled over not being told ahead of time.

Putting a cloud over the deal, Britain’s government said it was studying whether to allow Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown to go ahead with his plan to take in the men as refugees. Brown said the men eventually would be permitted to pursue citizenship and would have the right to work, travel and “potentially settle elsewhere.”

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