Harper has yet to respond, they say
Ex-activist may be in Chinese prison
JESSICA LEEDER AND HEBA ALY
After 100 days since Huseyincan Celil was taken into foreign custody, questions still swirl around his disappearance, his whereabouts and the Canadian government's response.
The Chinese-born Muslim refugee is a Canadian citizen and father of six who has been shuttled between captors so secretively that his family isn't even sure he's still alive.
Aside from comments from Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay that his office began trying months ago to secure Celil's release,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not responded to a letter sent last week by Celil's Hamilton-based lawyer, Chris MacLeod, requesting he send a special envoy to secure Celil's release. Harper's help, Celil's family says, is their only hope.
Sandra Buckler, Harper's spokeswoman, said the letter was received. She could not say how long it will take Harper to respond, adding that response time varies depending on how many ministries are involved.
The case against Celil, who became a Canadian citizen last year, is confusing and complex. It involves allegations that he has multiple aliases, and that he used at least one of them to assassinate a political leader and commit terror-related crimes in
Celil's lawyer has deemed the allegations bizarre, and says he has documents to prove his client's innocence. It's unclear whether
The saga of Celil's captivity began when the 37-year-old was arrested on March 27 in
Celil's family said they suspected he was arrested because of
Celil was imprisoned in
After he escaped, Celil was admitted to
When he was arrested in
They allowed him three consular visits with Canadian representatives. He had no family contact.
But his future was quickly clouded by a statement issued by the Uzbek Embassy in
A pro-government website alleges Dilaver was involved in a May 2000 attack on a state delegation in Xinjiang province. It also alleges he is responsible for the March 2000 killing of Nigmat Baizakov, former head of the Uyghur Society in
Celil's lawyer argues the charges are a "ruse" because Celil was in a different country at the time.
Seven month's pregnant with the couple's fourth child, Celil's wife, Kamila Telendibaeva, said she was told Uzbek authorities were waiting to see if her husband's fingerprints matched those on file in
MacLeod said if he doesn't receive a response from the Prime Minister's Office by the end of the week, he'll make the trip to
The Canadian government insists it is doing what it can.
Last Tuesday, a diplomatic note — the strongest instrument governments can use to communicate without damaging relations — was hand-delivered to Chinese officials asking about Celil's whereabouts. So far, there has been no official response.
With files from Michael Mainville, the Star's stringer in