CANADIAN PRESS: Canadian In Uzbekistan Said To Face Execution

Canadian man detained in Uzbekistan faces execution if surrendered to his native China because of his former career as a political dissident, a family friend said Tuesday. Huseyincan Celil has been held since March 26 in the capital city of Tashkent, said Seyit Aydogan, who fears the Uzbekistan government will hand Celil over to Chinese officials. "Uzbekistan intends to repatriate him to China where he will face a definite execution because of his past political activities," said Aydogan. "Celil holds only a Canadian passport. He denounced his Chinese citizenship." Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Kim Girtel confirmed Tuesday that a Canadian citizen is being detained in Uzbekistan. "We are in touch with the next-of-kin and we are providing consular assistance," said Girtel, who could not confirm the detained person's identity due to privacy regulations. Celil's wife and three children, all Canadian citizens who have lived in Hamilton, since 2002, were in Tashkent when he was taken and remain there with relatives, awaiting news of his condition, said Aydogan. "They can come back, but she wants her husband," he said. The family hasn't had any contact with Celil during his detention, Aydogan added. Celil was a political activist fighting for the rights of the Uygur population in western China when he was arrested and tortured there, said Aydogan. Celil escaped from prison, and fled to Uzbekistan and Turkey before coming to Canada as a refugee. The family has lived in Hamilton since 2002. Celil became a Canadian citizen "three or four months ago," said Aydogan.

No comments: