Friday, April 4, 2008

Family of Canadian serving life in prison in China say his whereabouts unknown

OTTAWA — The family of a Canadian convicted of terror charges and serving life in prison in China say Beijing has refused to tell Ottawa the prisoner’s whereabouts.
The Globe and Mail reports that the family of Huseyin Celil, along with his Canadian lawyer and Amnesty International, sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday, pleading for the government to intensify efforts on his behalf.
Celil, a member of the Muslim Uyghur minority in China, was travelling on a Canadian passport when he was arrested in Uzbekistan two years ago.
Chinese authorities accused him of terrorism and charged him with engaging in violent separatist activities. Celil has denied the charges.
In April of last year Celil was sentenced to life in prison. According to the letter, Beijing has refused to grant Canadian officials access to him.
The Globe says Celil’s sister visited him just a few months ago in a prison in northwest China. However, Thursday’s letter says the family tried to visit him again on March 7, but were told he was no longer at the prison.

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