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U.S. Voices Concern Over 11 Uyghurs Beijing Wants Malaysia To Deport

China has been accused of rights abuses in Xinjiang Province, which is home to many Uyghur Muslims. (file photo)

The United States on February 9 voiced concern over Malaysia's possible deportation of 11 Uyghur Muslims to China.

The Reuters news agency reported on February 8 that the 11 ethnic Uyghurs from China, who were among 20 that escaped from a jail in Thailand last year, have been detained in Malaysia, and that Beijing was in talks with Malaysia over their deportation.

China subjected Malaysia to "great pressure" to hand the 11 over to Beijing, and not to Thailand, and some Western foreign missions were trying to dissuade them from sending the Uyghurs to China, sources told Reuters.

"We are concerned by media reports regarding Malaysia's possible deportation of [Uyghur] individuals to China," a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in an e-mail to Reuters.

"We urge Chinese authorities to uphold international human rights norms with regard to any individuals who have been returned to China, and to ensure transparency, due process, and the safety and proper treatment of these individuals."

Human Rights Watch called on Malaysia to ensure the detained Uyghurs are not forcibly deported to China as they face "credible threats of imprisonment and torture."

China has been accused of rights abuses in Xinjiang, the torture of Uyghur detainees, and tightly controlling their religion and culture.

Based on reporting by Reuters