Rights activists urge Morocco not to extradite Uyghur man to China


Moroccan human rights activists on Tuesday urged Rabat not to extradite a Uyghur man to China, citing fears he might face arbitrary detention or torture.

Yidrissi Aishan has been held at a prison near Casablanca after being arrested on an Interpol notice filed by China after arriving last month from Turkey, where he lives.

China has accused him of terrorism and he faces an extradition hearing in Morocco, his lawyers said, saying the charges against him lack evidence.

“We call on Morocco to uphold the international anti-torture conventions it has ratified and abstain from extraditing the Uyghur citizen to China where he risks torture and arbitrary detention,” said Khadija Riadi of Morocco’s AMDH rights group.

Mustapha Ramid, the minister in charge of human rights in the Moroccan government, was not immediately available to comment.

Aishan, 34, lives with his wife and three children in Turkey where he has residency status on humanitarian grounds, Amnesty international said last week, urging his release.

He was active in a Uyghur diaspora newspaper in Turkey that denounced what it called atrocities against the Muslim minority in China, said Safeguard Defenders, a rights group.

China has been rebuked by international rights groups for its crackdown on Uyghurs, described as subject to arbitrary mass detention, indoctrination and torture. UN experts estimate at least a million Uyghurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in northwest China’s Xinjiang region.

China denies accusations of abuses in Xinjiang, and has said the complexes it set up in the region provided vocational training to help stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism.

Aishan’s Moroccan lawyer, Miloud Kandil, said China’s accusations lack evidence, while the Turkish judiciary has acquitted him three times and rejected his extradition.

“Every Muslim Uyghur is a potential terrorist in the eyes of China. Therefore his extradition is a violation of national and international law,” said Kandil.