08 May 2006 :it was reported that human rights groups fear that three Uyghurs might face torture and even death if extradited to China. Thirty-seven-year old Huseyin Celil, an ethnic Uyghur originally from north-western China, was detained in Tashkent on 27 March.
He was detained while applying for a renewal of his Uzbek visa.
"They [Uzbek authorities] don't say anything, we heard nothing from them," Celil's wife, Komila Telindibaeva, said from her home in Canada. "They don't say what they will do. They haven't said anything to the [Canadian] consul when he phoned them." Before obtaining a refugee status in Canada in 2001, Celil was a political activist and fought for the rights of Muslim Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where he was arrested and allegedly tortured. In 1996, he fled to Kyrgyzstan where he also spent nine months in jail at China's request, Telindibaeva says. After being acquitted, Celil fled to Turkey before reaching Canada.
Celil's wife says he has not been involved in any political activity since fleeing China. Canadian authorities say they are using all possible diplomatic avenues, including appeals to other countries, to press for the release of Celil from jail.
Meanwhile, two more Uyghur men remain in detention in Kazakhstan.
Thirty-five-year old Yusuf Kadir Tohti and Abdukadir Sidik, aged 30, both originally from the XUAR, were detained in Kazakhstan in April.
Tohti has lived in Kazakhstan since 1996 and worked as a religious teacher. In China, he was accused of promoting separatism.
Sidik fled the XUAR in 1999 after publicly protesting against Beijing's policy on minorities, particularly the family planning policy, which limits the number of children families can have.
Chinese authorities have accused Uyghurs - Turkic-speaking Muslims - of violent Islamic separatism aimed at creating an independent state of East Turkestan in northwester China.
Amnesty International says it has documented several cases of Uyghurs being
sentenced to death and executed in the XUAR for alleged acts of separatism and terrorism in recent years.
The most recent case is Ismail Semed, an Uyghur human-rights activist, who was sentenced to death following deportation from Pakistan to China and was likely executed, the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project said earlier in May.