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Diplomatic memos reveal Chinese effort to block Guantánamo prisoner's asylum bid

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Following Albania's acceptance of five Guantánamo Uighurs in 2006, Albania suffered " 'a big diplomatic and economic hit,' " according to a Pentagon official quoted in a Feb. 18 Los Angeles Times story. The Times's Pentagon source added that "no one wants to do that again."

China denies that it unduly pressured the Swedes. "Saying so-called Chinese pressure is a block on the closure of Guantánamo Bay is ridiculous," Zhou Lulu, press officer for China's Stockholm embassy, said in an interview. "As we said, the Uighur terrorist suspects should be returned to China for a fair trial, but not sheltered for further terrorist activity, nor detained without trial – that is an international obligation for all countries."

Addressing the Chinese position, Amnesty International spokeswoman Sharon Singh observed that "since the Uighurs have been persecuted in the past, it's a bit dubious that the Chinese would hold fair trials for these men."

According to the documents, China repeatedly branded Hakimjan and the other Guantánamo Uighurs as "terrorists." Two of the memoranda, dated from February, detailed China's requests that information it provided on Hakimjan be turned over to Sweden's Justice Department, which was stated as done.

Subsequently, in late April, Swedish courts ultimately upheld Hakimjan's bid for political asylum.

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