East Turkestan: Uzbekistan Deports Canadian Activist to China for Possible Execution
Huseyincan Celil, who fled China in the 1990s, was arrested in Uzbekistan in March. His supporters say he may face the death penalty if tried in China, which has waged a long campaign against Uighur separatism.
Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs account for 8 million of the 19 million people in Chinas northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Uzbekistan has extradited to China a terrorist who has committed a number of crimes in that country and who is also wanted by Interpol, Uzbekistans state-backed press-uz.info news Web site reported.
Interpol and officials in China and Uzbekistan were not available for comment. The Web site is often used by the Uzbek authorities to make statements on sensitive issues.
Uighur activists say they fear China could put Celil, 37, on trial and execute him. Celil has three children in Canada.
China accuses Celil of taking part in a terrorist attack on a government delegation in Xinjiang in 2000, as well as murdering an Uighur in Kyrgyzstan, the Uzbek news agency said.
Canada has pressed Uzbekistan to let him go on humanitarian grounds. Canada angered Uzbekistan last year when it agreed to resettle 50 Uzbek refugees who fled to neighbouring Kyrgyzstan after Uzbek security forces fired on crowds in the town of Andizhan when they put down an uprising.
Separately, Amnesty International called on China to release two Uighurs, who it said were forcibly returned from neighbouring Kazakhstan in May and now face serious human rights violations, including torture and possibly the death penalty.
Over recent years, Amnesty International has monitored growing numbers of forced returns of Uighurs to China from several of its neighboring countries, including those of Central Asia, such as Kazakhstan, it said in a statement.
At least 1,770 people were executed and 3,900 sentenced to death in China in 2005, Amnesty said, adding that the true figures, which are classified as a state secret, are believed to be much higher.