Yusuf Kadir Tohti and Abdulkadir Sidik

According to the formerly Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), the two Uyghur men Yusuf Kadir Tohti (also known as Erdagan) and Abdulkadir Sidik were detained by the Kazakh authorities for allegedly possessing false passports and diskettes containing “extremist” information. In May 2006 both men were released under pressure from human rights organizations, but went missing afterwards. Amnesty International (AI) reported on 27 June 2006 that Yusuf Kadir Tohti and Abdukadir Sidik were returned from Kazakhstan on 10 May 2006 after “a decision by the specialized administrative court for violation of rules of stay in Kazakhstan”. The Chinese authorities have reportedly requested their extradition.

Amnesty International reported that as of the end of June 2006, the two men were being held in incommunicado detention in China and that they were at risk of “serious human rights violations, including torture or other ill-treatment, and possibly the death penalty, should their ‘crimes’ be deemed to be  serious’”.

At the time of their forcible return to China, Yusuf Kadir Tohti was 35 years old and Abdukadir Sidik was 30 years old. Yusuf Kadir Tohti reportedly fled China for Kazakhstan in 1996.  He became a religious teacher in Kazakhstan.  The Chinese authorities reportedly accused him of “separatism” and requested his return. Kazakh law enforcement officers detained him in Almaty on 8 March 2006.

Abdukadir Sidik fled China in 1999 for Kazakhstan after the following series of events. In China, he publicly protested against the Chinese government’s policy on family planning and labour, and their impact on ethnic minorities. He was reportedly detained in China for two months in connection with his political activities and views. After his release, he reportedly filed a complaint against a local official, following which the official reportedly came to his house, beat him, and threatened him with further punishment. Abdukadir Sidik, reportedly fearing for his safety, fled China and was detained by Kazakh border officials as he crossed the border. The Kazakh authorities charged him with illegally crossing the border and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment. According to Abdukadir Sidik, he was actually imprisoned for 18 months. In a letter that he wrote from prison before he was forcibly returned to China, Abdukadir Sidik stated that he had been interrogated and threatened by Chinese police officers while in detention in Kazakhstan.

Further details on their case, including their current whereabouts and well-being, are unknown.


Amnesty International (AI), Central Asia: Summary of Human Rights Concerns. January 2006 – March 2007 [WITH AMENDMENT], Index Number: EUR 04/001/2007, 26 March 2007, available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR04/001/2007/en

Amnesty International (AI), Kazakhstan/China: Forcible return/torture/death penalty Yusuf Kadir Tohti and Abdulkadir Sidik, EUR 57/001/2006, 25 April 2006, available at: http://www.amnestyinternational.be/doc/actions-en-cours/les-actions-urgentes/Les-actions-urgentes-en-anglais/article/kazakstan-china-yusuf-kadir-tohti-7648

Amnesty International (AI), Kazakhstan: Further information on Forcible return/torture/death penalty (First Update to UA 100/06), PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 57/002/2006, 27 June 2006, available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR57/002/2006/en/5c2bfbd4-d419-11dd-8743-d305bea2b2c7/eur570022006en.html

Amnesty International (AI), Kazakhstan: Summary of Concerns on Torture and Ill-Treatment: Briefing for the United Nations Committee against Torture, November 2008, available at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR57/001/2008/en/1b06381e-8bd5-11dd-8e5e-43ea85d15a69/eur570012008en.html

Human Rights in China (HRIC) Report, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: The Impact of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, March 2011, available at: http://www.hrichina.org/research-and-publications/reports/sco; chapter on “Extraditions and Forcible Returns to China” available at: http://www.hrichina.org/content/5237#china

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), Central Asia, Closer To Becoming A Death Penalty-Free Region?, 2 January 2007, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/refworld/rwmain?page=publisher&docid=46963aeb2&skip=0&publisher=IHF&querysi=uighur&searchin=fulltext&display=10&sort=date

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), International Helsinki Federation Annual Report on Human Rights Violations (2007): Kazakhstan, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/publisher,IHF,ANNUALREPORT,KAZ,469399be0,0.html

Pravda.Ru, Kazakhstan accused of secretly deporting two Uighurs to China, 19 May 2006, available at: http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/19-05-2006/80648-kazakhstan-0/

[Last updated: December 2011]