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Maat Calls upon the Qatari Authorities Not to Deport the Uighur Activist Abulikemu Yusufu

Maat Calls upon the Qatari Authorities Not to Deport the Uighur Activist Abulikemu Yusufu

“Qatar is violating international conventions and the principle of non-refoulement”Okeil

 “Qatar applies the law on regulating political asylum to terrorists only” Al-Banna

Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights calls upon the Qatari authorities not to deport activist Abulikemu Yusufu, a 53-year-old Muslim from Uighurs minority, to China where he is expected to be imprisoned, tortured and possibly executed. Maat believes that the deportation of Yusufu is a refoulement, which is prohibited by international law.

He was born in Hutan, east China’s Xinjiang province, and left his hometown to Pakistan in 1997. He stayed there until the end of last month, leaving it to Bosnia after feeling threat to his life. There, it has been decided to deport him to China, due to Chinese pressure. Yusufu arrived in Doha on Qatar Airways as a transit stop before being deported to China. He was able to record a video in which he appealed to the world to prevent his deportation.

Ayman Okeil, President of Maat, said that Qatar’s deportation of the Uighur citizen violates international human rights conventions; and violates the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition provided for by customary international law on the return of a person to place where a real risk of persecution exists or  his life or liberty is threatened on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership  of a particular social group or political opinion, or where there is a real risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or other gross violations of human rights.

Okeil stressed that this is not the first incident of Qatar in forced deportation. In 2017, Saudi citizen Mohammed Al-Otaibi was forcibly deported to Riyadh two months after arriving in Qatar.

Mohammed al-Banna, a Gulf affairs researcher at Maat, said that while Qatar applies the political asylum law to terrorists, it is now refusing to apply it to grant political asylum to the Uighur citizen Yusufu. Article 15 of Qatar’s law on regulating Political Asylum prohibits returning a refugee to “his country of origin or to another country in which he fears he will be in danger or subject to persecution.”, which applies to the case of Yusufu.

It is worth mentioning that Qatar was among 37 countries that signed a letter to the United Nations to support Beijing’s policies toward minorities in the semi-Muslim region and are persecuted by China’s government.

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