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China Denies Execution Of Canadian-Uyghur Imminent

Uyghurs in Kyrgyzstan call for the release of Huseyincan Celil at a July 5 rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan (RFE/RL) August 9, 2006 -- China today denied reports that it is about to execute a Canadian-Uyghur activist recently deported to the country from Uzbekistan.

In a written statement, the Foreign Ministry said no verdict has yet been reached in the case of Huseyincan Celil.

The Uyghur American Association this week said Chinese authorities were planning to execute Celil on August 10.

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

China refuses to recognize Celil's Canadian citizenship.

The 37-year-old Uyghur activist was arrested in Uzbekistan on March 27 while visiting relatives there.

Tashkent extradited him to China in June, alleging that he is a Turkish citizen known as Guler Dilaver.

Kyrgyzstan in turn says it wants Celil for the murder in 2000 of a Uyghur community leader.