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Chinese Detainees Released from Guantanamo


The United States has released five Chinese Muslim men from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and sent them to Albania for resettlement.

The State Department said Friday that the government of Albania agreed to take them as a humanitarian gesture.

The U.S. had determined the five are no longer "enemy combatants" in the war against terrorism, but declined to release them to China because of concerns they would be persecuted there.

The men are ethnic Uighurs from an area of western China that is seeking greater autonomy from the government.

They are believed to have been captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan during U.S. military operations after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The Pentagon said Friday that it released a total of 272 detainees from Guantanamo Bay. About 480 others remain at the Cuba facility, including at least 17 ethnic Uighurs.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry recently called on the United States to "repatriate Chinese-nationality terror suspects held at Guantanamo as quickly as possible" to China.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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