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The arrest of Huseyin Celil prompted protests this summer by the Uyghur minority in Kyrgyzstan (pictured here) and Uzbekistan (RFE/RL) November 21, 2006 -- Canada today said it has received assurances that China will not pursue the death penalty against an ethnic Uyghur nationals who went on trial earlier this year on terrorism charges.


Andre Lemay, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay, said the case of Huseyin Celil was brought up during a meeting between Canadian and Chinese officials on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held in Vietnam last week.


A 37-year-old Canadian-Uyghur, Celil was arrested in Uzbekistan in March while visiting relatives and was subsequently extradited to China.


Some reports say a Chinese court sentenced him to death, others that he was given a 15-year jail sentence.


Beijing claims Celil was involved in an armed attack in 2000 on a government delegation in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang Region, home to China's Uyghur minority.


China also says Celil helped assassinate an Uyghur community leader in Kyrgyzstan.


(AFP, CBC News)

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