Uyghurs detained in Saudi Arabia fear deportation to China: Report

Washington: Two Uyghur men, detained in Saudi Arabia, face the prospect of being sent back to China while a human rights organization is working to stop that possibility, a media report said.

We urge Saudi Arabia to refrain from “imminent” deportation of two Uyghur men held “arbitrarily” in the country, said Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) the the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Division deputy director, Adam Coogle, according to Voice of America (VOA).

“If Saudi Arabia deports these men, it is likely upon a request from China — unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has no asylum system nor is there any way for these men to legally challenge their deportations,” VOA quoted Coogle as saying in an email.

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Emphasising that Saudi Arabia has “frequently and flagrantly violated” the human rights principle of nonrefoulement, the officials said nonrefoulement is the idea that countries should not return refugees to a place where they face a well-founded fear of persecution or torture.

In Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah, the two Uyghur men have been held in al-Dhahban prison since November 2020.

Following this case, some of the Uyghurs believe that one of the Uyghur men detained by Saudi police, 53-year-old Hemdullah Abduweli, also known as Aimidoula Waili on his Chinese passport, was taken into custody at the request of the Chinese embassy in Saudi Arabia to be deported to China, according to VOA.

Abduweli’s daughter Nuriman Hemdullah in Istanbul said that Uyghurs believe that it happened after Abduweli condemned China for its persecution of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region to other Uyghurs in his community.

The West including the US and other countries condemn Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs and human rights groups have termed their treatment as genocide and crimes against humanity. They accuse Beijing of putting more than 1 million of the Turkic Muslim group in internment camps in China’s Xinjiang region.

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