Saudi Arabia: 13-yr-old Uyghur girl among four facing deportation

Riyadh: A 13-year-old Uyghur girl is among four people at risk of being sent back from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to China where they could be held in repressive detention camps.

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Amnesty International on Monday called on Saudi Arabia to release four members of China’s Uyghur minority.

Buheliqiemu Abula and her teenage daughter were arrested near Makkah on Thursday, March 31, without knowing the reasons for the arrest. They were told by police that they faced deportation to China along with two Uyghur men already held, according to a statement released by the human rights group.

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As per media reports, Buheliqiemu Abula is the ex-wife of Nuermeiti Ruze, who has been detained without any charges in Saudi Arabia since November 2020, along with religious scholar Aimidoula Waili.

Lynn Maalouf, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Office at Amnesty International said, “The deportation of these four people – including a child – to China, where Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are facing a horrific campaign of mass internment, persecution and torture, would be an outrageous violation of international law.”

“With time apparently running out, to save the four  Uyghurs from this catastrophic deportation, it is imperative for our governments that have diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia to step in now and urge the authorities in Riyadh to fulfill their obligations and stop the deportations,” Maalouf added.

In March, family members of the two Uyghur men—Nuermeiti Ruze and Aimidoula Waili told Amnesty International that Waili and Ruze were transferred from Jeddah to Riyadh on March 16 – a move they believe signals their imminent extradition to China.

It is reported that Waili, who was previously tortured in Xinjiang prison, travelled to Saudi Arabia from Turkey in February 2020 to perform Umrah, a religious pilgrimage, with his friend Ruze.

In November 2020, Waili and Ruze were arrested. The Saudi authorities have not given Waili and Ruze a reason for their arrest or informed them about any charges against them.

In June 2021, Amnesty International released a report revealing how hundreds of thousands of Muslim men and women in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were subjected to mass arbitrary detention, indoctrination and torture.

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