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11:16, 22 February 2013 Friday

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"Missing" Uighur from Guantanamo resettled in Turkey

Last week, media reported that Adel Noori, 43, had disappeared from Palau and said that he was missing.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Uighur who freed from Guantanamo and United States had sent to the Pacific island nation of Palau is not missing but has actually resettled in Turkey.

Last week, media reported that Adel Noori, 43, had disappeared from Palau and said that he was missing.

But U.S. officials had known since late last year that Noori had grown impatient with U.S. efforts to find him and his Turkish wife a permanent home and the couple had managed to relocate to her homeland.

Left unclear was how Noori, who was technically stateless and had no travel documents as a condition of his temporary refuge in Palau, had reached Turkey.

Noori was one of six Uighur men for whom the Obama administration arranged temporary resettlement in Palau in October 2009 as part of an effort to empty the prison camps in southeast Cuba and close the detention center.

The United States paid the Palauan government of Johnson Toribiong $600,000 to take care of the men. That money has run out, and Toribiong lost re-election last year to Thomas Esang Remengesau Jr., who took office Jan. 17 after Noori had left the country with the knowledge of the Torbiong administration, according to a knowledgeable U.S. official.

A Palau newspaper called Tia Belau reported that Noori worked as a security guard at a local community college but hadn't appeared at work for two months.

A federal judge ruled in October 2008 that 17 Uighurs were unlawfully held at Guantanamo as "enemy combatants" and ordered their release. Some went to Bermuda and others to Switzerland, but the largest group was sent to Palau in a process of release that is still under way. Because three Uighurs spurned Palau's offer to stay there temporarily, they are still in a special U.S. prison compound in Guantanamo called Camp Iguana.

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