4 former Gitmo detainees to lose jobs in Bermuda

AP News
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Posted: Oct 13, 2010 6:41 PM
4 former Gitmo detainees to lose jobs in Bermuda

Four Guantanamo Bay prisoners who settled in Bermuda last year are losing their jobs at the island's premier golf course, but they have received other work offers, a close friend and translator said Wednesday.

The ethnic Uighurs from western China received letters Friday from the government stating they would be laid off at the end of October because of financial constraints, the friend, Rushan Abbas, told The Associated Press.

The government praised the men in the letter, saying they had worked hard and done their jobs well, but that it could not afford to keep them, Abbas said.

She declined to identify the men's new employers.

The men were hired as groundskeepers at the Port Royal Golf Course shortly after they arrived in Bermuda in June 2009 from Guantanamo Bay, where they were held for roughly seven years after their 2001 capture in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Their arrival angered Britain's government, which publicly scolded officials in this British territory for not consulting with London on the move.

The Pentagon had determined the Uighurs did not pose a threat, but said the men _ Turkic Muslims from far western China _ could not be sent home because they would face persecution for their separatist beliefs.

Abbas, who lives in the United States, said she keeps in touch regularly with the men and said they have adjusted well to life in Bermuda.

"They are very active in the local Muslim community," she said. "The only thing that is not easy for them is not to be able to see their families ... Other than that, they are happy."