Detainee in China isn't aware of his new son

Detainee in China isn't aware of his new son

Ted Brellisford, the Hamilton Spectator

From left, Badrudin Celil watches his baby brother Zubayir as their mother, Kamila Telendibaeva, looks on.

By Christine Cox
The Hamilton Spectator
BURLINGTON (Aug 25, 2006)

Kamila Telendibaeva is thrilled with her newborn son, but wishes desperately that her husband, Huseyin Celil, could be there to share her joy.

Telendibaeva gave birth to the couple's fourth child Wednesday at McMaster University Medical Centre. Her husband is languishing in a jail in China, where authorities say he's on trial for terrorist activities. Celil is a political dissident who had championed the cause of the Muslim Uyghur people.

Canadian officials have not had access to him in China and Celil, 37, doesn't even know he's a father again. Telendibaeva said her son weighed 3.5 kilos and will be named Zubayir.

"I am very happy that he's healthy, he's normal, but I feel very sad that my husband wasn't there with me at the hospital," she said yesterday. "I was missing my husband."

She said her other three children are pleased their little brother is home "and are playing around the baby."

Telendibaeva hasn't seen her husband since last spring. He was arrested in Uzbekistan in March and subsequently extradited to China, although he was travelling on a Canadian passport.

Celil's lawyer, Chris MacLeod, is not sure if a trial has actually begun or not. He wonders if there was a translation error in a statement that suggested it was under way.

MacLeod said the Chinese would be breaching international obligations if they didn't tell Canadian officials what the charges were and that the trial had started. He continues to press for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to send a special envoy to Beijing to look into the Celil case.

"I think it's important," MacLeod said yesterday.

Ottawa says it has had an assurance that China will not seek the death penalty for Celil. His wife does not think he will be killed, but fears he may be tortured.