The wife of imprisoned human rights activist Huseyin Celil and Amnesty International are urging the federal government to name a special envoy to try to secure the Canadian man’s release from a Chinese prison.
“I’m so worried,” Kamila Telendibaeva, said, describing her concerns for her husband’s safety after reports he may have been tortured.
At a news conference on Parliament Hill Thursday, Ms. Telendibaeva also appealed to Beijing to release Mr. Celil to Canada when Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay meets with Chinese officials next week.
A special envoy could raise the political profile of the case and co-ordinate Canadian government efforts to bring the man home, said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
Mr. Celil “has most certainly not received a fair trial,” he said. “His consular rights have been totally and utterly disregarded.”
Many government departments and agencies have business, economic or other official dealings with China, he noted.
They all need to raise Canadian concern about the Celil case “at every opportunity,” Mr. Neve said.
Mr. Neve and Chris MacLeod, Mr. Celil’s Canadian lawyer, said Ottawa and the International Olympic Committee need to remind Chinese authorities that China won a bid to host the Olympic Games on the understanding it would clean up its human rights record.
The IOC in particular should use its considerable influence with China to help get Mr. Celil released, they said.
Ms. Telendibaeva declined to comment on whether Canada should boycott the games if her husband is still imprisoned.
But that might be something to consider down the line, Mr. MacLeod suggested. “All options are open.”
Mr. Celil, a member of Western China’s Muslim Uigur minority, escaped from prison in China in 2000, fleeing to Uzbekistan and Turkey before landing in Canada. He became a Canadian citizen in 2005.
Mr. Celil was arrested in Uzbekistan in March 27, 2006, while visiting his wife’s relatives, and was deported to China.
Mr. Celil was born in China, and is now a political refugee and Canadian citizen.
He was travelling in Uzbekistan last year when he was arrested on a Chinese police warrant and extradited to China on terrorism charges.
On April 19, a Chinese court found him guilty of giving 80,000 yuan, or about $11,700, to the founder of a terrorist organization called Hezbollah in China’s Guangdong province in 1997. The founder went on to purchase arms and train terrorists, the court found.
The court also found Mr. Celil had participated in the “criminal activities” of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and joined the East Turkistan Liberation Organization, helping to organize an alliance between the two groups in 1998.
China had refused consular access to Mr. Celil, and would not allow Canadian officials into the courtroom.
Mr. Celil was sentenced to life in prison.
The case has damaged relations between China and Canada, provoking sharp protests from the federal government. Foreign Minister Peter MacKay is visiting Beijing next week and promises to raise the Celil case in his meetings with senior Chinese leaders.
Written by: TENILLE BONOGUORE AND JEFF SALLOT
Original Link: theglobeandmail.com/news/world/name-envoy-in-celil-case-ottawa-urged/article1075071/