Canadian Prime Minister announced later yesterday on Twitter that “Earlier tonight, the aircraft carrying Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor left Chinese airspace.” meanwhile Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil has remained imprisoned in China for 15 years.
Photo credits to Global News
Following the homecoming of two Canadians, the National Council of Canadian Muslims said on Twitter: We are overjoyed by the news of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor's release, no doubt bringing relief to their families and ending their three-year nightmare. We are also thinking today of those still left behind, especially Huseyin Celil, a political prisoner detained for 15 years.”
Huseyin Celil is a Canadian citizen and an Uyghur human rights activist from the Uyghur homeland who promoted the rights of the Uyghur people. In 2001, he fled China after being in jail for supporting the religious and political rights of the Uyghur people. The United Nations recognized him as a refugee.
In October 2001, Huseyin Celil (pronounced "Je-Lil"), his wife Kamila, and their child arrived in Canada. Huseyin became a Canadian citizen when they settled, and two more boys were born. The family traveled to Uzbekistan to visit Kamila's family in March 2006 while she was pregnant with their fourth child.
When the Chinese police learned that Huseyin was in Uzbekistan, they requested that the Uzbek authorities arrest him. They did, and he was then dispatched to China.
Chinese authorities charged Huseyin with crimes relating to his activism in favor of Uyghur rights. Huseyin was imprisoned in a secret location. He was denied access to legal counsel, his family, or Canadian officials. He was threatened by Chinese authorities and compelled to sign a confession.
Chinese authorities refused to acknowledge Huseyin's Canadian citizenship and refused to allow Canadian officials to attend his trial. He is now still serving his life sentence in prison.
Kamila and her children in Canada don't know if they will ever see Huseyin again.
The Photo Credits to TheRecord.com
"Over the span of 15 years of unjust imprisonment and grave human rights violations, two prime ministers and ten ministers of foreign affairs have had the opportunity and responsibility to secure Huseyin Celil's release from detention in China and return to his family in Canada," Mr. Neve said in a statement to The Canadian Press.
"There have been many reassuring words, but little in the way of sustained, high-level government efforts to bring him home. The next government must turn that around. Pursuing freedom for Huseyin through every possible avenue must become an absolute top priority."
"Canada has been actively building a coalition in support of the two Michaels but has left Huseyin Celil behind. We are very disturbed to see him being treated as a second-class citizen and deprived of his rights."