3 Nov 2009

Uighurs pose no threat to Palau, says lawyer

10:48 am on 3 November 2009

A lawyer representing three of the six Uighurs transferred to Palau at the weekend from US military detention in Guantanamo Bay says they pose no safety threat to the local community.

The men, who come from China's mainly Muslim region of Xinjiang, were captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001.

Lawyer Eric Tirschwell says there is no reason why the men cannot return to leading peaceful and productive lives as the four other Uighur detainees who resettled in Bermuda earlier this year, and five others who went to Albania in 2006, have done.

Despite the reluctance of most countries to take them on, Mr Tirschwell says the Uighurs pose no danger.

"The reality is just real-world politics. Every country in the world, pretty much, is afraid of retaliation from China and that pretty clearly is the reason that no other country has been willing to take these men in. So we've never viewed the safety issue, or the danger issue, as anything other than just an excuse that's based on nothing."

Eric Tirschwell.