Charge: “Terrorism” Sentence: Life (reduced to unknown fixed term sentence on February 1, 2016) Location: Xinjiang No. 1 Prison
Huseyin Celil was formerly a charismatic Imam based in Toronto, and became a Canadian citizen in November 2005. He originally fled from the Chinese authorities in the late 1990s, after having served a prison term on charges related to founding a political party.
Upon being granted his Canadian citizenship, Mr. Celil went to Uzbekistan to try and meet with the parents of his wife, who is originally from Uzbekistan. However, he was detained by Uzbek authorities in March 2006 when he tried to renew his visa, reportedly at the request of the Kyrgyz authorities who wanted to question him in connection with crimes committed in Kyrgyzstan in the year 2000. Celil's detention occurred despite the fact that he was unequivocally cleared of any involvement in those crimes, as he was in Turkey under the protection of the UNHCR at the time. Chinese authorities subsequently secured his repatriation from Uzbekistan in June 2006.
Chinese authorities claim that Mr. Celil was involved in “terrorist” activities, although it is not publicly known what he is suspected of actually doing to warrant this accusation. Human rights groups believe that Mr. Celil has been charged with alleged terrorist crimes in response to the peaceful political activities he engaged in before he left East Turkistan.
The Chinese government exploits the Uyghurs’ faith in Islam in order to justify this repression. A survey undertaken by AP, cited in an article dated September 4, 2011, highlighted an increase in terror arrests worldwide in the decade after 9/11. Of the 66 countries surveyed, accounting for 70% of the world’s population, China was one of two countries accounting for half of the 35,117 terror related convictions recorded. The AP article concluded “dozens of countries are using the fight against terrorism to curb political dissent.”
At the annual plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) held from March 5-13, 2015 China adopted a draft counterterrorism law that Human Rights Watch has criticized as a “recipe for abuses.”
End of the Road: One Belt, One Road and the Cumulative Economic Marginalization of the Uyghurs, a new research report by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), is an examination of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) economic initiative from a Uyghur human rights perspective.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) calls on the European Parliament to award Ilham Tohti the 2016 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Professor Ilham Tohti has been a consistent voice for the equitable treatment of Uyghurs in China and in doing so has made an outstanding contribution to human rights.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) is concerned a new Counter-Terrorism Law adopted by the People's Republic of China (PRC) on December 27, 2015, and effective as of January 1, 2016, is a mandate for the Chinese government to commit human rights violations against the Uyghur people in East Turkestan.
The WUC and UHRP have jointly submitted an alternative report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) for consideration during the 56th session of the Committee from November 9 to December 9, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.