Uighur Won't Leave Brother at Gitmo—So He's Staying

Neither is guilty, but one has no offer of resettlement
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2009 10:12 AM CDT
Chinese Uighur Guantanamo detainees.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Bahtiyar Mahnut, a Chinese Uighur detainee at Guantanamo Bay, is guilty of no crime. In fact, he’s free to leave and even has an offer of sanctuary from the island nation of Palau, like all of his compatriots save one. And that one, his brother Arkin, is why he’s staying, reports the Washington Post. “Every day here is an eternity,” Bahtiyar tells Arkin’s lawyer. “But I have to look out for my brother.”

Arkin has no offer from Palau because his mental state has deteriorated during his time at Guantanamo and authorities fear he will not receive adequate care on the remote island. The story is all the more heartbreaking because of how it started: Arkin traveled to Afghanistan in 2001 to find his brother, who was training with Uighur separatists. He was picked up there, Bahtiyar in Pakistan. They can’t be sent back to China for fear of persecution, but that’s cold comfort for Arkin. “I know I'll die in here,” he says. “In China, at least I would have a trial and sentence.”