Canadian citizen imprisoned for life in China as terrorist

This is an interesting stroy and I want to know what the rest of you know about how this process may unfold. I hope the Canadian government is able to get him back diplomatically.

news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070419/wl … daxinjiang

China warns Canada to stay out of Xinjiang terrorism case

Thu Apr 19, 9:35 AM ET

BEIJING (AFP) - China on Thursday warned Canada not to get involved in the case of a Canadian national sentenced to life in prison on terrorism and separatism charges.
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A court in Urumqi, capital of the westernmost province of Xinjiang, jailed Chinese-born ethnic Uighur Huseyin Celil for “the crime of splitting the motherland” and involvement in terrorism, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said, confirming earlier reports.

“The case of Huseyin Celil is an internal affair and Canada has no right to interfere. We hope Canada can take the right position on this case,” Liu told a regular press briefing.

The verdict comes ahead of a visit to China later this month by Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay, during which he is expected to raise the issue, Canadian officials have said.

Canada has complained that its consular officials have been denied access to Celil during his incarceration and trial.

China accuses Celil of being a member of “terrorist” organisation seeking to create a Muslim homeland in Central Asia, including part of Xinjiang.

A Canadian embassy spokesman said Canadian officials were in Urumqi, but were unable to attend the trial and denied consular access to him.

According to Canadian news reports, Celil was arrested in Uzbekistan in March 2006 and extradited to China the following May.

Celil fled China a decade ago and arrived in Canada in 2001 as a refugee and became a Canadian citizen, the reports said.

He is a member of the Uighur ethnic group, many of whose members want to establish an independent nation.

China has increasingly stepped up pressure on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang since the September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

and…

canada.com/montrealgazette/n … e649ce4e14

Canada will keep pressing China on Celil
The Gazette
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2007

The government of China is ignoring both international usage and its own laws in treating Canadian citizen Huseyincan Celil as if he were a Chinese citizen.

And if you are a human rights activist or a Muslim religious leader - and Celil is described as both - being a Chinese citizen can be bad news, indeed: Celil has been sentenced to life in prison after a five-hour trial behind closed doors, on charges related to sedition and terrorism. Celil denies the charges and no evidence against him has leaked through those court-house doors. What have filtered out are unconfirmed reports he has been tortured.

Canadian diplomats, dispatched to the provincial town of Urumqi, were refused jailhouse access to this Canadian citizen, which is allowed under international agreements, and barred from the courtroom.
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Celil, a member of China’s northwestern Uyghur minority, came to Canada as a refugee in 2001 and became a citizen in 2005. China, unlike Canada, allows no dual citizenship: When a Chinese citizen becomes a citizen of another country, he automatically forfeits Chinese citizenship, Chinese law says. Yet Beijing refuses to acknowledge Celil’s Canadian status, and has bluntly warned this country to butt out of what it calls an internal Chinese matter.

Peter MacKay, Canada’s foreign minister, has to his credit spoken and acted in this case with what amounts, in the restrained syntax of international relations, to considerable force.

He put out a critical statement about China’s handling of the case, called on the Chinese government to investigate the torture allegations “promptly and impartially,” summoned a Chinese diplomat in Ottawa to receive a formal protest note, and said Canada will review a 1999 agreement on consular relations. MacKay promises to raise the case on his coming visit to China.

And there the incident - not to mention Celil - will probably remain. MacKay will not cancel his trip, pull Canada out of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, or otherwise blow the issue up any further. Nor should he.

A bilateral international relationship is the sum of countless private and public exchanges. Canada’s relations with another country cannot stop whenever an injustice is committed.

What Canada can and should do in a case like this is what MacKay is doing here: Complain loudly of the injustice, letting the whole world know what China has done. (MacKay did something similar, we should mention, last week when he protested against the Russian government’s disgraceful thuggery in handling some harmless street protests.)

In particular, MacKay should do what he can to warn the estimated 300,000 Canadian citizens who used to be Chinese citizens, that returning to their homeland could become a one-way trip.

Speaking up, clearly and firmly and loudly, is in practice the most that we can do for Huseyincan Celil. It’s good to know we’re doing that.

I think Canada can persuade China to let this guy go. how have cases like these developed in the past?

an update on his situation:
He was able to get a letter out of prison. It reads, in part,

How about my lovely wife Kamila and my children in Canada? (naming his all children one by one) . were you able to continue to contact with my wife Kamila and my children in Canada? How are they doing? What is my wife Kamila saying on my bad luck? Please ask Kamila, let her continue to do something for me in Canada. I am now loosing my all hopes of returning back to my country and see my wife and children. I can not sleep by thinking my old handicapped son. Because I am in Prison now I am not aware of any thing about outside world. My days are passing with hoping of a miracle that can save me from this place and gives me chance of hugging my wife and children in Canada. I am worrying for my children all days scratching my head as a hopeless and helpless person. When I met with my sister last time she mentioned me in brief that Kamila would be coming to see me?
Dear Kamila, if possible please contact with the Embassy personal in Beijing and let them know my situation. So far nearly two years I have not seen any one from Canada. I am citizen of Canada and I belong to this great country.

If I am in jail know it is just because I got a bad luck. Otherwise I have not done any thing wrong in my whole life. I really want to talk with some one from our Embassy in Beijing, I would like to tell them that I am absolutely innocent person. I want them to know my story. Why they are not coming to see me? I want them to ask for me why I am in jail for so long? What went wrong? What is the reason? I want to know all of these. I could not find any one here to listen me. But our Embassy personal can ask these questions on my behalf.
Respectfully

Huseyin Celil

March 10, 2008

No: 5th subdivision of 6th district, Number 1 prison in Urumqi

Huseyin Celil

theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ … ernational

heartbreaking.
. What happened to him?

poor guy. and he wasn’t even declared an enemy combatant. how unfair is that?

Um, this is yet another example of China trampling all over international law, yet who among us is surprised? One good question is, why was he extradited to China from Uzbekistan in the first place if he’s Canadian? Another one is, was he even committing a crime in China if he’s in Uzbekistan?

Shifty fokkers.

Three possible explanations:

  1. When people are deported, (because they immigrated illegally, are considered persona not grata or whatever), they are usually sent back to the country from which they entered the country that is deporting them. If Celil (pronounced Jelil) entered Uzbekistan from China, then he would be deported back there.
  2. Or perhaps he was carrying a Chinese passport or other Chinese ID.
  3. Celil was wanted for a crime in China and Uzbekistan has an extradition treaty with China.