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Uyghurs, Prisoners of the Absurd

Patricio Henriquez

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The incredible odyssey of a group of China’s Uyghur minority, detained in Guantánamo as terrorists. Exposing the cold logic of post–September 11 geopolitical gamemasters, this documentary is part human drama, part political thriller, and both thought-provoking and moving.


In the Chinese ‘autonomous region’ of Xinjiang live the Uyghur, an Islamic people of Turkish origin. Since the area was incorporated into China, they have become a persecuted minority. In October 2001, a group of Uyghurs, who had tried to find sanctuary in Afghanistan, faced a new and unexpected misfortune.

The US was attacking the country at the time in efforts to find Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda fighters, and the local population was being encouraged to report terrorists in exchange for cash. More than twenty Uyghur men were thus delivered into the hands of the Americans. The refugees were transported to Guantánamo Bay, where they were imprisoned for many years, initially without any judicial process, and later proven innocent. For many years their freedom was obstructed by all manner of international political issues and interests. How could this have happened? Three of them speak openly about the years of hell they went through as refugees, and about their frustrating and tragic time being locked up.


Canada 2014, 98 min.


Spoken language: English, Uyghur

Subtitles: English


Macumba Media II


World sales:

National Film Board of Canada

001 514 283 94 39

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Human rights
courts & tribunals, transitional justice
politics & democracy
prison & detention
freedom of opinion, association etc.
cultural rights & traditions
minorities & indigenous peoples
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