July 26, 2017

Uyghur Human Rights Activist Prevented from Speaking at Italian Senate

 

On 26 June 2017, Uyghur human rights activist and member of the UNPO Dolkun Isa, who was scheduled to speak at the Italian Senate, was stopped by the authorities and brought to the police station for an identity check. UNPO asks for clarification from the authorities as to why Mr Isa was held for questioning and thus prevented from delivering his speech advocating for the rights of the Uyghurs.

Below is the above-mentioned press release, which you can also download here.

Rome, 26 June 2017 – Uyghur human rights activist and member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) Dolkun Isa, who was scheduled to speak at the Italian Senate, was stopped today by the authorities and brought to the police station for an identity check.

Mr Isa was stopped by the police right outside the Italian Senate in Rome at 11:45. They asked him to follow them to a station for an identity check, without giving him any explanation. He was then escorted to the station by members of the Division of General Investigations and Special Operations (DIGOS), an Italian law enforcement agency charged with investigating sensitive cases.

Mr Isa, a German citizen and the co-founder and General Secretary of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), was to speak at 12:00 at a press conference hosted by Senator Luigi Compagna and co-organised by UNPO and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty. He was prevented from doing so as he was held for questioning at a police station. During the conference, Senator Compagna firmly denounced this infringement upon Mr Isa’s freedom of expression. Mr Isa is still held by the Italian police at this time [15:00] and, according to our latest information, he might be interrogated by Chinese officials in the upcoming hours.

UNPO strongly condemns this new attempt to silence Mr Isa, who has already been escorted out of the United Nations (UN) premises several times in the past, the latest of which was in April 2017 during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Organization demands clarification from the Italian authorities as to why Mr Isa was held for questioning, and reaffirms its commitment to the defense of the freedom of expression of human rights activists.

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