UAA STOP PRESS: Five Guantanamo Uyghurs released, already in Albania

For immediate release
May 5, 2006, 6:40 p.m. EDT
Contact: Uyghur American Association,
Tel: +1 202 349 1496

The Uyghur American Association has just learned from the US State Department that five Uyghurs who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay have been released from US custody, and have already arrived in Albania where they are to be re-settled.

The five include Abu Bakker Qassim and Adel Abdu Al Hakim, the two men whose appeal hearing was due to be heard at the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on the morning of May 8. That hearing will now of course be cancelled.

UAA understands that the other three men to have been accepted for resettlement by Albania are Ahtar Qassim, Ayup Haji Ahmet and Ahmet (Doe).

“This is just incredible news, said Nury Turkel, President of the UAA. “It’s all been very sudden and unexpected, but we understand that all five men are healthy and happy to be free, if a little bewildered by events.

It is not yet known what conditions were set for the men’s release, nor what prompted the Albanian government in Tirana to accept the men.

“The UAA as a membership and community organization, and so we really want to avoid becoming involved in political speculation about their release, said Mr Turkel. “We’re just thrilled they’re free, and we’re going to be looking into what we can do to help them from here in their new lives in Europe, he added.

The US Department od Defense has issued a statement on the Uyghurs’ release, which can be seen here:…