More Uighurs sentenced to death in China

Originally Published by The Australian, 23 December 2009

CHINA has begun sentencing 20 more ethnic Uighurs – some to death – for their part in riots which left 197 people dead in the remote western city of Urumqi on July 5, as the second batch of trials of more than 1200 people arrested as a result of the carnage began today, with at least one man sent for execution.

In early December five people were sentenced to death and a further eight given prison terms, bringing to 17 sent to be executed in trials of the first two groups of people from the bloody unrest. Nine have been executed so far.

The province of Xinjiang, of which Urumqi is the capital, remains locked down with internet, text messaging and international phone access cut off.

The Australian has learned that three new trials were held today with other accused expected to be given their final sentences in coming days.

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China must reveal fate of Uighur asylum-seekers

Published by: Amnesty International, 23 December 2009

Amnesty International has called on the Chinese authorities to reveal the whereabouts of 20 ethnic Uighur asylum-seekers who were forcibly deported from Cambodia to China on 19 December

The group, which includes two very young children, may be at risk of torture or even execution since their forcible deportation at the request of the Chinese government.

Since 2001, Amnesty International has documented cases in which Uighur asylum seekers or refugees who were forcibly returned to China were detained, reportedly tortured and in some cases sentenced to death and executed.

“The 20 should either be charged with recognizably criminal offences or released,” said Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi in a letter to the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Buzhang.

“Their trials should meet international fair trial standards, and under no circumstances should the death penalty be imposed.

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UN was lazy on Uighurs: official

Originally Published by Phnom Penh Post, 23 December 2009

A SENIOR government official says the UN’s refugee agency did not act quickly enough to process the asylum claims of 20 ethnic Uighurs deported by Cambodian authorities on Saturday night, an act that has prompted a storm of international condemnation.

Speaking to reporters prior to a ceremony for the signing of aid agreements with visiting Chinese officials on Monday, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith accused the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of using the Uighurs as political pawns.

“UNHCR is the laziest office in Cambodia,” he said. “If they [granted refugee status] within a few days, those people would have been moved to other places, but they were slow and kept them for about a month.”

He also accused the agency of leaking the story to the press in order to “beat a drum” against the government, forcing authorities into opening investigations into the asylum seekers.

The Uighurs, part of a group of 22 who had applied for refugee status through UNHCR, were detained by Cambodian police on Friday and forcibly deported to China the following night. Two Uighurs remain on the run.

When contacted on Tuesday, Kitty McKinsey, Asia spokeswoman for UNHCR, declined to comment on Khieu Kanharith’s comments.

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‘Disturbing’ Uyghur deportations reflect China’s growing clout

Originally Published by  Democracy Digest, 22 December 2009

Uyghur asylum-seekers compulsorily repatriated from Cambodia last weekend had warned the U.N. refugee agency they feared long jail sentences or even the death penalty if deported to China, Associated Press reports.

The agency quotes a 29-year-old from Kashgar who had filmed the events of July 5 in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi:

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Deported Uighurs told UN of fears of China return

Published by AP, 22 December 2009

 BEIJING — Ethnic Uighur asylum-seekers forcibly repatriated over the weekend had warned the U.N. refugee agency they feared long jail terms or even the death penalty if they were sent back to China, according to statements seen by The Associated Press.

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China thanks Cambodia for deported Uighurs: $1.2 billion US in grants and loans

Originally Published by CBC News, 21 December 2009

Visiting Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping thanked Cambodia for deporting 20 Muslim asylum-seekers while handing the country $1.2 billion US in aid, a government spokesman said Monday.

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Protest Over Deportations

Published by RFA, 21 December 2009

HONG KONG—China is defending its deportation of 20 ethnic minority Uyghurs who had fled to Cambodia in the wake of deadly ethnic rioting, as the United States voices “deep concern” over the move.

The ethnic Uyghurs sought asylum in Cambodia following deadly ethnic riots this summer in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. China says they are suspected criminals.

They were deported back to China on Saturday despite international protests and fears that they could face trial, torture, and execution in China.

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The Long Arm of China: Why were members of China’s Uighur minority group recently deported from Cambodia?

Published By The Wall Street Journal, 21 December 2009

 On Saturday night under cover of darkness, a special Chinese plane departed from the military section of the Phnom Penh airport carrying 20 Uighur asylum seekers. For this group of men, women and children, this was the end of their failed effort to seek freedom from the Chinese regime.

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