The four Uyghurs in June 2010 - a year after their arrival in Bermuda. *File photo by Kageaki Smith.
The four Uyghurs in June 2010 - a year after their arrival in Bermuda. *File photo by Kageaki Smith.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 30: The Uyghurs are back in the news.

A reporter and photographer from the New York Post were in Bermuda this week to talk to the four ex-detainees of Guantanamo Bay.

They have remained largely out of the public spotlight for a couple of years, having come under intense media scrutiny — both here and overseas — when they first arrived on the island in June, 2009.

The Uyghurs, originally from China, were covertly brought to Bermuda from Cuba by then-Premier Dr Ewart Brown, who had consulted neither his Cabinet nor Government House. Amid the diplomatic firestorm and public furore that followed, Dr Brown survived a parliamentary vote of confidence after a marathon debate.

He framed it as a humanitarian act that would elevate Bermuda's global stature and it drew thanks from powerful allies including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The story of the capture and detention of the four Uyghurs is complex but ultimately, they were effectively cleared by US authorities of any wrongdoing.

Today's article, which appears online and in the printed Sunday edition of the New York Post, is bound to re-ignite debate about the Uyghurs, whose long-term fate remains uncertain.

'Trapped' in Bermuda: Uyghurs' daily struggle

Three years after the four Uyghurs from Guantanamo Bay first tasted freedom on their arrival in Bermuda, they’re still ‘prisoners in paradise’.

A special report in today’s New York Post examines the lives of the four since their arrival in June 2009.

All four are now married, three have young children. They met their wives online. They work long days in manual labour and live in studio apartments. But they’re struggling, writes reporter Maureen Callahan, who interviewed three of the four last week.

“Now, we have nothing,” Abdullah Abdulqadir told The Post. “We are working hard just to stay alive.”

While Governor George Fergusson told the Bermuda Sun earlier this year that the UK was in talks with the US about the four, The Post reports a US state official has told them that the US considers the matter closed.

This leaves the Uyghurs without passports, a country or the option to travel with their wives. It’s likely they’re serving a lifelong sentence in Bermuda, Ms Callahan explains.

Three of the four, Khalil Mamut, 34, Abdullah Abdulqadir, 33, and Salahidin Abdulahad, 35, met with The Post on the condition that many identifying details about them were left out. They refused to be photographed.

Read the full story here.