Uyghur rights groups have been up in arms about the case of Ershidin Israil, a Uyghur man who tried to escape China but was recently deported back by the Kazakh government. It should be noted that Uyghur refugees have ended up in a number of neighboring countries- unlike Tibetan exiles who make use of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration, Uyghurs fleeing China have no central group to protect them. Thus, they find themselves scattered across a number of Central Asian countries, and occasionally in real trouble- witness the fate of a number of Uyghur refugees found in Afghanistan and mistaken for Al Qaeda operatives by American armed forces. They’ve been rotting in Guantanamo ever since despite having cleared their names, which would deeply shame the United States if the United States had any shame. RFA reports on this recent deportation:
Documents used by Kazakhstan as grounds to deport an ethnic Uyghur to China were irrelevant and doctored, according to the man’s brother and a Uyghur rights activist.
Ershidin Israil, a 38-year-old former geography teacher, was initially given refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and accepted for resettlement by Sweden after having fled on foot across the border to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in July 2009.
But the UNHCR later stripped him of his refugee status, paving the way for Kazakhstan to deport him to Xinjiang, where he is likely to face punishment for exposing the torture and death of a fellow Uyghur in a Chinese prison.
Anne Enochsson, a Swedish MP, has demanded that her country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs conduct an investigation into how Israil was allowed to be deported to China when he had been accepted for resettlement.
“Now Sweden is directly involved in an asylum case and therefore should stand up for human rights,” she said in a statement.
“When the U.N. fails, Sweden must have the courage to stand up against the methods of dictatorships.”
The Chinese documents detailing Israil’s alleged crimes of terrorism were obtained by his lawyer, Yuri Sergeivich Stukanov, and provided to RFA by Israil’s sister-in-law, Asiye Kerimova.
They were released shortly after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that Israil had been extradited to China where he is being held on charges of “terrorism.”
World Uyghur Congress General Secretary Dolkun Isa said evidence used against Israil was fabricated and “typical” of the Chinese approach to targeting dissidents.
“According to the documents, only two items of evidence determined Ershidin Israil’s fate of deportation. One is a photo of him wearing a long beard, which was made artificially. Another is linking him to a so-called terrorist, Repket Abdukerim,” Isa said.
He said Abdukerim was not known as having taken part in any pro-Uyghur activities or organizations.
“It’s the first time I have heard this name. Probably he was on China’s blacklist and his information has not been publicized yet, or he was newly added to the blacklist in order to fabricate the story according to China’s needs,” Isa said.