A federal minister has stepped in to help the wife of a Canadian imprisoned in China after the mother of four’s child-tax benefits were cut off.

Kamila Telendibaeva’s benefits were halted because her husband Huseyin Celil was unable to sign documents necessary for the benefits to be released.

She maintains she has been billed almost $10,000 by the Canada Revenue Agency for failing to file income tax for her husband, who is on the books as working out of the country.

Celil is serving a life sentence in northwest China on terrorism charges that he and his supporters steadfastly deny.

But Human Resources and Social Development Minister Monte Solberg acted over the weekend to restore the payments, which Telendibaeva says used to amount to almost $1,000 each month.

“I had a call over the weekend from Mr. Solberg’s office saying they’re on it and I know the minister’s office over the weekend directed the bureaucracy to deal with it and we’ll have some answers today,” Lawyer Chris MacLeod told Canada AM.

He gave credit to Solberg for acting so quickly after only learning about the situation on Friday.

Telendibaeva, a part-time ESL student, said she uses the money to pay for food and clothes for her four children, one of whom is disabled. She is now surviving on loans from her father in Uzbekistan, she said.

“We’re not bad but it’s difficult you know — trying to raise four children by myself is difficult and I have no connection with my husband,” she told CTV’s Canada AM.

Telendibaeva, 30, said she hopes the situation will be resolved by the end of the week.

Celil, a 39-year-old Canadian citizen from Burlington, Ont. was born in China and is a member of the Uighur Muslim minority. The group has been accused of being separatist and endorsing terrorism.

He was arrested in Uzbekistan in March 2006 while on a family trip. He was deported to China, where he was arrested on charges related to his work with the Uighurs in the 1990s.

Despite diplomatic pressure at the highest levels — Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has spoken to Chinese President Hu Jintao about the case — China has refused to recognize his Canadian citizenship or allow consular officials to visit him.

Celil’s supporters here in Canada have refused to give up their cause. On Sunday, they held a rally in Toronto calling for Beijing to follow through on the promise to improve its human rights record, and release Celil.

MacLeod said public support and global pressure is the greatest tool Celil’s supporters have in their fight for his freedom.

Original Link: https://www.ctvnews.ca/gov-t-moves-to-restore-celil-s-wife-s-benefits-1.311708