Her husband was cleared of wrongdoing at Guantanamo Bay. Now, as she fights to carry him to Canada, her well being is faltering

The previous 12 months has been exhausting for Melike Aierken, and it’s simply gotten worse.

Amid an immigration utility to permit her husband to return to Canada from Albania, Aierken was final week admitted to hospital in Montreal. She has thyroid issues and should wait an indeterminate period of time for the outcomes of a biopsy on her liver.


Till her launch Thursday, her two youngsters, ages 4 and 9, had been staying with a buddy in lieu of any household within the metropolis. Her medical troubles should not over and the stress of one other hospital stint with no agency choices to take care of her youngsters weighs closely on her, as does the dearth of an everyday presence of a father in her youngsters’s lives.

“The youngsters miss their father,” she advised the Star via a translator in a video interview through which she regularly fought again tears. “Their father misses the children.”

It’s a troublesome story — and one which’s unfolding within the lingering shadow of America’s army jail, Guantanamo Bay, the place years in the past Aierken’s husband was as soon as held.


Initially from China’s far-western Xinjiang Autonomous Area, Aierken moved to Canada with the assistance of her father greater than a decade in the past. Shortly after coming to Canada, she met Ayub Mohammed on-line, a Uighur residing in Albania. The 2 finally married and began a household.

For the subsequent few years, Aierken lived in each Canada, the place she gave start to her daughter, and Albania, the place she gave start to her son. Each youngsters are Canadian residents.

In 2014, they determined to maneuver to Canada for good and commenced the immigration course of for Mohammed. Aierken got here again for good in 2016, although she has made two brief visits to see her husband since then.


However the household hit a snag that 12 months when Mohammed’s utility was denied by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, leaving Aierken with the lingering fear her household may by no means be reunited.

The denial was quashed in federal court docket and is being reassessed by the federal government division.


Mohammed’s PR bid was rejected on safety issues labelling him a doable member of the Jap Turkistan Islamic Motion, a terrorist group with the acknowledged intention to determine Xinjiang as a sovereign state.

He mentioned he was kidnapped in Pakistan whereas there for a short while ready to proceed on to the U.S. shortly after 9/11 and bought to the U.S. army to gather a bounty and despatched to Guantanamo Bay.

Mohammed was cleared of any wrongdoing by a Combatant Standing Overview Tribunal and launched in 2006 to Albania, as a result of worldwide authorized non-refoulement ideas prevented his return to China the place he confronted persecution.


Presently, oppression of the Uighur minority within the nation has escalated into internment camps, forced sterilization and compelled labour, based on reviews from newspapers and analysis establishments.

“They let him go as a result of he was harmless,” Aierken mentioned of her husband. “If he was responsible, they by no means would have let him go.”

Aierken nonetheless thinks it was time Mohammed spent in Guantanamo Bay that’s maintaining her husband out of Canada.


Mohammed’s case is one of some through which Uighurs who had been held in Guantanamo Bay, and cleared of wrongdoing, are attempting to reunite with household in Canada.

Mehmet Tohti, govt director of the Uighur Rights Advocacy Challenge, mentioned in three such instances the boys are being victimized a second time by not being granted everlasting residency. He believes it’s because of the spectre of their Guantanamo Bay detentions.

“I don’t consider there’s any safety threat or menace for our security,” he mentioned. “Principally, Canada is pushing them to show themselves harmless (of) the sins they’ve by no means dedicated.”


IRCC mentioned it doesn’t touch upon immigration instances as a consequence of privateness issues.

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How lengthy the method for Mohammed’s immigration bid will take is unknown, Aierken mentioned, leaving her in a state of flux and fear.

Final week’s admission to hospital has amplified Aierken’s stress as she awaits the outcomes of a biopsy and fears one other stint in care. Final week, a buddy was in a position to care for the kids however she mentioned she doesn’t know whom she is going to flip to if she wants assist once more.


“It’s an enormous duty taking good care of youngsters, particularly throughout a pandemic,” she mentioned. “They may have the ability to take care of them for a couple of days, however long run I don’t have anybody else. I don’t have a plan.”