Amnesty urges Saudi Arabia to halt extradition of two Uyghur men 'facing torture, detention' in China

Amnesty urges Saudi Arabia to halt extradition of two Uyghur men 'facing torture, detention' in China
2 min read
23 March, 2022
Amnesty has urged Saudi Arabia not to extradite two Uyghur men to China, where 'hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs have faced grave human rights violations'.
Testimonies from Uyghur camp survivors say they were forced to renounce their Muslim faith at 'indoctrination sessions' [Getty]

Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Saudi Arabia to halt plans to extradite two Uyghur men to China, where the rights group said they are "likely" to face detention and torture. 

Aimidoula Waili and Nuermaimaiti Ruze - described as religious scholars by Amnesty - have been detained in the kingdom since November 2020 with no reason given for their arrest.

The human rights organisation said they are at "imminent risk" of being forcibly repatriated to China, where a well-documented "genocide" against Muslim minority communities in Xinjiang - involving mass detention and indoctrination - has been launched by authorities.  

"If sent to China, it is highly likely that these two men will be subjected to arbitrary detention and torture in Xinjiang's network of repressive internment camps or prisons, where hundreds of thousands of other Uyghurs have faced grave human rights violations," said Lynn Malouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Under international law, the Saudi government has an obligation not to extradite Waili and Ruze." 

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Amnesty's statement on Waili and Ruze's possible extradition came as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) - of which Saudi Arabia is a leading member - invited China's foreign minister to their Council of Foreign Ministers session in Pakistan. 

The organisation's Secretary-General Hissen Brahim Taha met with China's Wang Yi and, according to a statement from OIC, discussed "the long-standing and deep-rooted historical relations between China and the Muslim world". 

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) said it was “absolutely inappropriate” that the OIC - which purports to represent Muslims across the world - should include a Chinese representative at the conference amid the ongoing "genocide". 

The rights group said the OIC had been "shamefully silent" on China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic people in recent years. 

The UHRP - who called the treatment of Uyghurs an "outright genocide and an all-out war on Islam in the Uyghur homeland" - have documented stories from camp survivors about indoctrination sessions forcing people to reject their Muslim faith.