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WUC Deeply Concerned about Targeting of Uyghur Students

October 10, 2017 by admin

In the month of September, there were a number of concerning developments regarding the Uyghur students who were detained in Egypt, likely at the behest of China.

Following reports that 16 Uyghur students had disappeared in Egypt, the World Uyghur Congress issues a press release calling on Egyptian authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of the students who have been forcibly disappeared in Cairo. The recent disappearances merely exacerbate already-present violations against Uyghur students who have been arbitrarily detained since early July.

Recent reports have indicated that those disappeared, who made up a larger group of Uyghurs detained in Egypt since July 4th, were whisked away in black hoods by armed police to an unknown location. Such an action heightens fears that they may be forcibly returned to China in the coming days–a move in clear violation of international law and one that could leave the victims at serious risk of arbitrary detention and even torture.

As it now stands, all those who remain in detention are at serious risk of return to China, particularly those whom the international community is unable to contact or determine their whereabouts. Uyghurs who have been forcibly returned in the past are very often imprisoned, tortured or disappeared with nearly no information or communication from victims.

In an effort to address this and raise international attention to the plight of the Uyghur stuents in Egypt, the WUC in cooperation with the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, made an Oral Statement during Item 4 of the General Debate in the Human Rights Council regarding the Uyghur students who are currently imprisoned in Egypt on baseless charges.

Amnesty International launched an urgent action campaign on behalf of Buzainafu Abudourexiti, a Uyghur who had studied in Egypt for 2 years and returned to China in 2015. She was suddenly detained in March 2017 and was sentenced to 7 years in prison, after a secret trial. There has been no word from her since her detention and no details have been released about what she was charged with or what her current status is.

It also emerged this month that six Uyghur students who had been studying abroad in Turkey were arrested by Chinese authorities on their return to East Turkestan and were sentenced to jail terms from 5-12 years in August 2017. The 6 students, consisting of 3 males and 3 females, were reportedly sent to a re-education camp immediately upon their return in June 2017, before their sentencing, to “implement correct thought”. According to a source for Radio Free Asia, an official investigation had been carried out by Chinese authorities which determined that the students had never been involved in “abnormal activities” and “their only intentions were to study”.

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