Albania to the rescue! - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Albania to the rescue!


Albanian fix for Guantanamo dilemma
By Neil Arun
BBC News, Tirana

America's former terror suspects are embarking on new lives as refugees in Albania.

The impoverished eastern European nation has become the new destination for a special category of prisoner - men whom the US feels it is right to release but risky to repatriate.

Asylum has already been arranged in Albania for eight former Guantanamo Bay detainees whom the US says would face torture if sent back home.

Their transfer marks a new trend in the "war on terror".

Experts say dozens of men due to be released from Guantanamo could soon follow suit because of US concerns over human rights in their home countries.

Among them, according to human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, are Uzbeks, Algerians, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans.

Mr Stafford Smith, who has campaigned for many held at Guantanamo Bay, says finalising the fate of such prisoners is "a major obstacle to the camp's closure".

So far, he says, "Albania has been the only place willing to take them in."

The men say they are still haunted by the memory of those who remain in Guantanamo

Read the story of the first former terror suspects transferred to Albania

Mr Stafford Smith argues that more countries should take responsibility for rehabilitating released Guantanamo inmates who are, in effect, refugees.

His view is echoed by the US Government, which disagrees with Mr Stafford Smith on many other aspects of detainees' rights.

The US State Department's deputy for war crimes attacks the apparent hypocrisy of countries that decry Guantanamo as illegal but refuse to help rehabilitate its former prisoners.

"Everyone is very quick to criticise and call for Guantanamo's closure," Sandy Hodgkinson says.

But, she says, few countries offer "credible alternatives in difficult human rights cases".

Some 100 countries rejected US requests to provide asylum to freed terror suspects before Albania stepped forward, Ms Hodgkinson says.

Strange story

Adil Abdul Hakim was one of the first to arrive there.

His encounter with the American military began on the battlefields of Afghanistan and ended, four years later, in Albania.

The US is under pressure to close down Guantanamo Bay

In his late 20s when he entered Guantanamo Bay, he emerged from the prison camp last summer a homesick 32-year-old.

From his new eastern European home, he telephoned the family he had left behind in western China. They had not spoken since his incarceration.

"We couldn't talk," he says, of that first phone call. "They kept trying to speak but all I heard was sobbing."

Adil is one of five former Guantanamo detainees from China's Xinjiang province living in a country thousands of miles away from home, with a language and customs alien to them.

Their story, though strange, is no longer an anomaly. Since their arrival last summer, Albania has also accepted former Guantanamo inmates of Egyptian, Algerian and Uzbek origin.

Torture dilemma

The five men from Xinjiang are ethnic Uighurs, who practise Islam and speak a Turkic language, unlike most Chinese.

Having brought the men from Afghanistan, the US military later ruled they were "no longer enemy combatants" and posed no threat to the US.

The Uighurs see themselves as ethnically apart from the Chinese

The military decided the men must be released - but this posed new problems.

China regarded them as Uighur separatist militants and demanded the US return them so they may face charges at home.

The US State Department said they would face torture if sent back to China and set about trying to find them another home.

"The US position is clear - we will not send individuals to places where we believe it is more than likely they will be tortured," Ms Hodgkinson says.

In summer 2006, Albania agreed to welcome the five men as refugees. The Chinese were infuriated and their ambassador in Tirana rebuked the Albanians.

In sending them to a country other than China, the US was able to uphold its criticisms of human rights abroad.

Albania thus became the unusual solution to a unique problem.

The US dispatch of terror suspects for interrogation in third countries became known as "extraordinary rendition".

Now, one could say that the US has embarked on a policy of "extraordinary rehabilitation".
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 09:19 PM
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2 things:

no one can torture besides us?

i am going to hedge my bets that we'll be back in the balkans within one generation.

in political asylum
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 09:55 PM
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"Wag The Dog" is the answer.

Life imitating art. Again.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 12:01 AM
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Same Albanians are quite successful in Germany,.... especially as heroin dealers.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Teutone
Same Albanians are quite successful in Germany,.... especially as heroin dealers.
Don't do them an injustice Teutone , they make great people trafficers , pimps, robbers and muggers too . Shit just go down to Frankfurt's rail station at night and take a look , so there is plenty of room for shit bags in Albania as so many have move on Europe to make a killing .
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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So much to learn.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 06:18 AM
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there will most likely be another conflict in the Balkans soon and we'll be receiving Albanian refugees like we did during the Kosovo crisis. If the conflict engulfs Albania itself, what are the chances of the five Uighurs returning to America as refugees this time?

Albania and Mercedes:

In Destitute Albania, the Mercedes Rules the Road



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