Salahadin Abdulahad with his three children in Bermuda, where he was sent after being cleared of terrorism suspicions and freed from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in 2009. He has applied to emigrate to Canada as his wife and children are living in Toronto.Handout
Three former Guantanamo prisoners were cleared by the U.S. — but will Ottawa let them join their Canadian wives?
  • Tue, 05/07/2019 - 22:06

Tom Blackwell
May 7, 2019 3:30 PM EDT

It’s been more than a decade since U.S. authorities freed Ayub Mohammed from their Cuban prison, having decided he was not, after all, an “enemy combatant.”

In that time the ethnic Uyghur from China has earned a business degree from the New York University of Tirana in Albania — his home since 2006 — met online and married a Canadian woman, and had three children, all of whom are Canadian citizens.

Now he wants to live with them in Montreal.

But Mohammed’s four-year ordeal at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and the radioactive stigma that comes with it continue to haunt him.

The Federal Court of Canada recently ordered a new hearing for the 36-year-old after immigration officials denied his request for permanent resident status here. Disagreeing with those George W. Bush administration officials, a visa officer concluded he was a member of an obscure terrorist organization, and thus inadmissible.

In court, federal lawyers even argued a negative decision on Mohammed’s immigration request was “inevitable.”

“I live with that everyday, that stain of having been a detainee at Guantanamo Bay,” Mohammed said in an interview from Tirana. “Coming out of Guantanamo, I went into another kind of prison. Everywhere I go, I don’t have the documentation, I don’t have the freedom to move around and once people hear about my background, they stay away…. After they hear about my past, they just disappear.”