Uzbekistan arrests Canadian national wanted by China: wife


Wed Apr 5, 11:24 AM ET

TASHKENT (AFP) - A political dissident from China who is now a Canadian citizen has been arrested in the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan and could face extradition to China, his wife said.
Huseyincan Celil, 37, an ethnic Uighur from western China, was arrested on March 27 in Tashkent, Komila Telindiyeva told AFP.
"We came to Uzbekistan to visit my parents who live here. Ten days ago we went to the police office to extend our Uzbek visa and there the police arrested my husband," Telindiyeva said.
Matthew Meyer, an official from Canada's embassy to Moscow, which also covers Central Asia, said: "The embassy is of course aware of the case... Canadian consular officials are working to resolve the matter."
Telindiyeva said she had not been able to see her husband since his arrest and police told her that he was arrested because "China and Kyrgyzstan want his arrest through Interpol."
Celil campaigned as a political activist fighting for the rights of the mostly Muslim population of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China and had to flee to Kyrgyzstan in 1996 to escape prison, his wife said.
China has long been criticised by human rights advocates for violating the rights of the native Uighur people in western China under the pretext of clamping down on religious extremism and a separatist rebellion.
Celil was tried in Kyrgyzstan for criticising Chinese policy on the Uighur population but was then acquitted, Telindiyeva said.
He and his wife live in Hamilton, eastern Canada, where Celil was given refugee status in 2002. Telindiyeva said Celil was given Canadian citizenship "three or four months ago."

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