OTTAWA – Now that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are safely on Canadian soil after more than 1,000 days in prison in China, the federal government must fight for the immediate and urgent release of Huseyin Celil and the Canadians still imprisoned in China, Amnesty International said today.
“Canadians can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are finally home,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “But now we must turn our attention to the others who remain imprisoned in China, including Huseyin Celil, Sun Qian, Fan Wei, and Robert Schellenberg.”
Huseyin Celil is a Muslim Uyghur and activist who has been imprisoned for over 15 years. He was arrested in March 2006 at China’s request during a family trip to Uzbekistan and extradited to China. China has refused to recognize his Canadian citizenship, and he has been denied access to his family, a lawyer, and Canadian consular officials. He was last heard from in 2016, and his current condition is unknown.
Sun Qian is a Falun Gong practitioner who was detained in China in 2017. While she is a dual Chinese-Canadian national, China does not recognize her Canadian citizenship.
Fan Wei, Xu Weihong, Ye Jianhui, and Robert Schellenberg are facing the death penalty for separate drug-related charges. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception.
Amnesty International urges the Canadian government to do everything it can to secure the release of Huseyin Celil and Sun Qian, and to revoke the death penalty sentences for Fan Wei, and Robert Schellenberg.