Passport status a mystery

MPs press to help Canadian in China
By Daniel NolanThe Hamilton Spectator(Jul 7, 2006)
A Burlington man appears to be in custody in China without his Canadian passport, raising fears China still regards him as a Chinese national and is ignoring Canadian requests to see him and check on his wellbeing.
China has still not confirmed to Canadian authorities that Huseyincan Celil, who fled China in 1994 because of his political work with the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province, has been in their custody for the past two weeks after being extradited from Uzbekistan.
Calgary Tory MP Jason Kenny, who has taken a personal interest in the case as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary assistant, said this follows a diplomatic note, appeals from the Canadian ambassador in Beijing and appeals to the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.
Celil's wife in Burlington said that her brother in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, says Uzbeki authorities have told him Celil's Canadian passport remains in their hands, even after they handed him over to Chinese authorities at the end of June.
"When I heard that, I was really upset and angry," Celil's wife Kamila Telendibaeva said yesterday.
"It's really upsetting. They didn't give his Canadian passport when the government sent him to China. Maybe China didn't want the Canadian passport?"
She and her lawyer Chris MacLeod of Hamilton hope the government can do more to pressure China. MacLeod has appealed to Harper to send an envoy to China. Hamilton East-Stoney Creek New Democrat MP Wayne Marston, his party's human rights critic, also called on Ottawa to do more yesterday.
MacLeod is worried China's lack of response and not taking the passport indicates the father of six is viewed "as a Chinese national who left China and is now coming back to China . . . That fits the bill for China (that) this is not about a Canadian citizen."
Kyrgyzstan, a neighbour of China and Uzbekistan, accuses Celil of being behind two terrorist attacks in 2000, but his friends and family say that's impossible because he was living in Turkey as a refugee. He was sentenced to death in absentia in China for his political work, but Uzbekistan says China has told it he will not face capital punishment. Celil, who lived in Kyrgyzstan before moving to Turkey, came to Canada in 2001. Celil was detained in Uzbekistan in March while he and his wife visited family.
Kenny said Canada has asked Uzbekistan to confirm whether they transferred Celil to China without his passport. He called it a complex problem because China does not recognize dual nationalities. The Foreign Affairs website warns Chinese who have become Canadians that recognition of Canadian citizenship is not automatic.
"These are very pertinent questions," Kenny said. "There are many countries that don't recognize dual citizenship for a national, but we, of course, are treating Mr. Celil as a Canadian who deserves full consular access."
He said the government is looking at other measures to press its case with China.

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