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CAIR-CAN Seeks Freedom for Rights Activist Held in China

(OTTAWA, CANADA ­ 29/06/06) ­ CAIR-CAN is calling on the Canadian government to increase its efforts to secure the release of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian Muslim who faces execution after being imprisoned in China this week.

“The Canadian government must use every avenue of recourse to secure the release of this Canadian citizen,” said Karl Nickner, CAIR-CAN’s executive director, adding that Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay could utilize his trip to Moscow on Thursday to seek the assistance of Russian officials.

According to reports, Celil was transferred from Uzbekistan to China this week, where he faces possible execution. Celil had first been detained in Uzbekistan in March 2006 for deportation to China, a country he fled as a refugee in 2001. He had been imprisoned in China after advocating for the rights of China’s Uighur Muslim minority.

Celil’s wife and supporters had been advocating for the Canadian government to send a high ranking official to Uzbekistan to secure his release.

“It is very disappointing that the Canadian government failed to send a suitable official to Uzbekistan when there was a much better chance of having Mr. Celil returned to Canada. The situation in now far more dire and it is imperative that the Canadian government engage in much more strenuous efforts to secure Mr. Celil’s release,” says Halima Mautbur, CAIR-CAN’s human rights coordinator.

CONTACT: Halima Mautbur at 613.254.9704 or 613.795.2012


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