Help man held in Uzbekistan, Ottawa urged

Help man held in Uzbekistan, Ottawa urged
Apr. 6, 2006. 01:00 AM

The wife of a Burlington man detained in Uzbekistan urged Canada yesterday to save her husband from possible deportation to China, where she fears he faces execution as a political dissident.
Kamila Celil has not been allowed to speak with her husband Huseyincan Celil since he was arrested March 26 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
"China wants to take him. He can't go to China, because they will arrest and they will kill him," Celil said in a phone interview from Tashkent. She said that while officials in Uzbekistan have said they will not send her husband to China, "we are afraid because we don't believe them."
The family says Huseyincan Celil, 37, was a political activist fighting for the rights of the Uighur population in Xinjiang province, in northwest China, when he was arrested and tortured. He escaped from prison in 1998 and fled to Uzbekistan and Turkey before coming to Canada as a refugee in 2001. He became a Canadian citizen last year.
A letter outlining Celil's plight has been sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and others in Parliament, said Burhan Celik, an Ottawa-area man working on Celil's behalf.
Celik, who began making calls to the government last Friday, said a consular official told him there may be bilateral agreements between Uzbekistan and China that supersede any protection Celil's Canadian passport could offer.
Foreign Affairs acknowledged that a Canadian citizen was being detained, and that the family has been granted consular assistance, but also cited privacy laws.
Celil, who travelled to Tashkent last month to reunite with his family, was renewing his visitor's visa on March 26 at a government office in Tashkent when he was arrested, his wife said.
Canadian Press

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