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Britain miffed at Bermuda's Gitmo move

June 12, 2009 at 6:54 PM   |   Comments

HAMILTON, Bermuda, June 12 (UPI) -- Bermuda's decision to grant asylum to four Chinese Muslims freed from Guantanamo, Cuba, has caused a diplomatic chill with Britain, its former colonial power.

While Britain is supposed to have ultimate authority over Bermuda on foreign policy, the men -- members of the Uighur minority -- were on their way to Hamilton before London knew they were going, The Times of London reported Friday. Bermuda Prime Minister Ewart Brown said the four would be given the chance to become citizens of Bermuda.

"We have underlined to the Bermuda Government that it should have consulted the U.K. on whether this falls within their competence or is a foreign affairs or security issue for which the Bermuda government does not have delegated responsibility," the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.

Sabin Willett, a lawyer who traveled to Bermuda with the men, said the country did "an act of grace."

"When political opportunists blocked justice in our own country, Bermuda has reminded her old friend America what justice is," he said.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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