Sunday, April 29, 2007

Help free activist, Ottawa urged

Rights group, wife ask MacKay to act
Apr 27, 2007 04:30 AM

OTTAWA–The wife of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian human-rights activist jailed for life in China, is asking the federal government to do more to free him.

Kamila Telendibaeva yesterday urged Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay to raise her husband's case when he visits China next week – something MacKay has said he will do.

Telendibaeva joined with Amnesty International to also urge Canada to name a special envoy to lead and co-ordinate efforts to free the 37-year-old Celil.

Celil, a Muslim whose wife and four children live in Burlington, grew up in China but escaped to Canada in 2001 and became a citizen. He was arrested in Uzbekistan last year and deported to China where he was convicted of having terrorist links.

The Chinese foreign ministry, meantime, said Canada has no right to interfere in the case.

"It has no connection with Canada. We hope the Canadian side will not interfere with China's internal affairs under this pretext," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao in Beijing.

Canadian Press, AP and AFP

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