Uyghur woman Buheliqiemu Abula and her 13-year-old daughter were detained near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on March 31, 2022, and told by police they faced deportation to China along with two Uyghur men already held. Buheliqiemu Abula is the former wife of Nuermaimaiti Ruze, who with Aimidoula Waili has been detained without charge in Saudi Arabia since November 2020. All four of them are now at risk of deportation to China, where they will highly likely be subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, and persecution. Pursuant to the international law, the Saudi authorities must immediately stop their deportation.
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His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Office of His Majesty the King Royal Court,
Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 11 403 3125,
Copies to: Minister of Justice
I am writing to express my grave concern for Uyghur woman Buheliqiemu Abula
and her 13-year-old daughter
who were detained near the Holy City of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on March 31, 2022. The police told them they were going to be deported to China, according to a message received by friends of Buheliqiemu Abula. Buheliqiemu Abula is the former wife of Nuermaimaiti Ruze
, who with Aimidoula Waili,
has been detained without charge in Saudi Arabia since November 2020. The Kingdom must abandon all plans to deport these four Uyghur people as this would amount to a clear violation of Saudi Arabia’s non-refoulement obligations.
The Chinese government has gone to great lengths to cover up the human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang, and to prevent members of the Uyghur diaspora from speaking up about them. To that end, the Chinese government has been requesting extradition of many Uyghur people living abroad branding them “terrorist” or “extremist” simply for their peaceful activism. Chinese law defines “terrorism” and “extremism” in an overly broad and vague manner, and these laws have been used to crack down on Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities.
There is now ample evidence, including leaked government documents, hundreds of testimonies, as well as drone videos and satellite imagery that the Chinese government has committed at least the crimes against humanity of imprisonment, torture and persecution against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang based on their religion and ethnicity.
It is extremely alarming to have learned that if forcibly returned to China, Buheliqiemu Abula, her daughter, Nuermaimaiti Ruze, and Aimidoula Waili will be in real danger of arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment. Their deportation would violate the Kingdom’s obligations under international law.
I therefore urge you to immediately halt the deportation of Buheliqiemu Abula, her daughter, Nuermaimaiti Ruze, and Aimidoula Waili to China, and immediately release them unless there is sufficient, credible, and admissible evidence that they have committed an internationally recognizable offence.