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Uyghur activist at imminent risk of deportation, torture after arrest in Morocco

Uyghur activist Yidiresi Aishan [BelgiumUyghur/Twitter]
Uyghur activist Yidiresi Aishan [BelgiumUyghur/Twitter]

Morocco has arrested an Uyghur activist following a warrant issued by China accusing him of terrorism.

Concerns are growing that BelgiumUyghur/ will now be extradited to China, which has used the pretext of terrorism, or counterterrorism, to crackdown on Uyghurs in East Turkestan.

Since 2017 some one million Uyghurs have been arbitrarily detained without trial, subjected to political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation, as documented by Amnesty and other human rights organisations.

The torture and mass internment of Uyghurs amounts to crimes against humanity, the rights watchdog has also said.

Aishan, 34, is a computer engineer who also worked for an online newspaper run by and for the Uyghur diaspora.

He also worked as an activist collecting testimonies about human rights violations committed by China against the Uyghurs, AP reports, and translates between Uyghurs in exile and local authorities.

Aishan arrived from Istanbul at Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca on 19 July when he was arrested and imprisoned in Tiflet Detention Centre.

READ: China has a long history of discrimination against the Uyghurs, but the world has a role to play

In 2012 UN Special Rapporteur Juan E. Mendez visited the Tiflet prison and said that physical and psychological torture were taking place frequently inside.

Aishan called his wife from the prison telling her he believed he would be imminently deported and has not been heard from since.

He left Turkey after being arrested several times despite having humanitarian residency papers. He has lived there since 2012 with his wife and three children, who have permanent residency.

In Turkey, humanitarian visas are issued mainly to people who have left their home country for political reasons and are only renewed every one to two years leaving applicants unsure when the time comes to reapply whether they will be refused or left pending.

Aishan has previously been stopped from leaving Turkey but this time was questioned for half an hour at the airport and told that if he left he would not be allowed to return.

He was not named by Moroccan police but was identified by the NGO Safeguard Defenders. Amnesty International have taken up his case, raising concern that Aishan is at risk of torture if he is sent back to China.

No lawyer has been assigned to him, Safeguard Defenders said in a statement.

Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been named among the countries that are deporting Uyghur Muslims to China.

AfricaAmnesty InternationalAsia & AmericasChinaEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsMoroccoNewsTurkeyUN
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