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Extradition of Uyghurs to China in violation of international law

Human Rights Without Frontiers Int'l, Brussels
Editor-in-chief: Willy Fautré
June 19, 2008

The People's Republic of China's (PRC) human rights violations against the Uyghur people are not limited to East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or XUAR). The Chinese government has extended its campaign against the Uyghurs into neighboring countries by using bilateral agreements to force the return of Uyghurs suspected of involvement in any kind of political activity disliked by the Chinese government. Uyghurs extradited to the PRC face serious human rights violations, including torture, unfair trials, and execution. In all of these cases, the governments involved are in clear violation of the principle of non-refoulement under international law, which protects refugees from being returned to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened.

The exact number of Uyghur activists who have been returned to the PRC, and the number who were subsequently executed, is unknown. The cases posted here were taken from Amnesty International reports[1], press reports[2] and UHRP sources

  • Shaheer Ali, sentenced to death in March 2003 and executed after being forcibly returned from Nepal to China in 2002. He had been recognized as a refugee by UNHCR in Nepal and was awaiting resettlement to a third country. He left behind detailed testimony of the torture he suffered while detained for eight months in the XUAR in 1994.

  • Abdu Allah Sattar, whose fate has remained unknown since he was detained at the same time as Shaheer Ali in Nepal. He is believed to have been forcibly returned to China.

  • Kheyum Whashim Ali, reportedly tortured in detention in Michuan prison in the XUAR, after being forcibly returned to China in mid-2002. He had been recognized as a refugee by UNHCR in Nepal.

  • Muhammed Tohti Metrozi, forcibly returned to China from Pakistan in July 2003. He was reportedly tried on or around 10 April 2004 in connection with sheltering Uyghurs who fled from China to Pakistan, belonging to a "separatist" group, and applying to UNHCR for refugee status.

  • Abdukakhar Idris, a former tailor and bookkeeper from Kashgar, is believed to have been forcibly returned from Kazakstan to China after his "disappearance" in Almaty in April or May 2003. He had approached UNHCR for refugee status before he went missing. His current whereabouts, legal status or state of health is unknown.

  • Ahmet Memet and Turgun Abbas, Islamic students from Kashgar, are believed to have been forcibly returned to China after reportedly being detained in Kazakstan in December 2001, in the border village of Panfilov. They had both reportedly applied to UNHCR for refugee status. There is no further information about their current whereabouts, legal status or state of health.

  • Yusuf Kadir and Abdukadir Sidik, Uyghur activists, forcibly returned from Kazakhstan to China on May 10, 2006. They are being held in incommunicado detention in China.

  • Kasim Mahpir, Ilyas Zordun, and Zulfikar Memet Uyghur, political activists forcibly returned to China from Kazakhstan in 1999, were executed upon their return.

  • Ismail Semed, forcibly repatriated from Pakistan to China In 2003, and executed on February 8, 2007 on charges of "attempting to split the motherland".

  • 14 anonymous Uyghurs, extradited from Kyrgyzstan to China for their "involvement in Uyghur separatist organizations". Their names, whereabouts and fate are unknown.

  • Arkin Sabirov, disappeared in Kazakhstan on October 23, 2006. Sabirov is believed to have been secretly deported to China.

Source: Amnesty International

[1] Amnesty International, Documented Cases of Uighurs Forcibly Returned to the XUAR, at

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