Accessibility links

Breaking News

Activist: Slovakia Deported Ethnic Kazakh From China's Xinjiang To Ukraine

Ersin Erkinuly
Ersin Erkinuly

An ethnic Kazakh from China's northwestern province of Xinjiang has been deported from Slovakia to Ukraine after he attempted to illegally cross the two counties’ border, a Kazakh activist says.

Activist Botagoz Isa told RFE/RL on August 12 that Chinese citizen Ersin Erkinuly was deported several days ago.

Locked Up In China: The Plight Of Xinjiang's Muslims

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is partnering with its sister organization, Radio Free Asia, to highlight the plight of Muslims living in China's western province of Xinjiang.

Ukraine granted Erkinuly asylum seeker status last year, but he decided to flee to Slovakia after receiving threats from unknown persons, according to Isa.

She said Erkinuly is to go on trial on August 13 on charges of illegal border crossing.

There was no immediate comment from Slovak or Ukrainian officials.

Ukrainian border guards arrested Erkinuly in October 2020 when he tried to cross into Poland without proper documents.

The man was released from custody in the western city of Lviv in December after an appeals court canceled a lower court's decision to deport him back to China.

Erkinuly has claimed he had lost his Chinese passport and that he would face imprisonment and torture if he is sent back to China.

In recent years, many Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and members of Xinjiang's other mostly Muslim, indigenous ethnic groups have fled the country, fearing detention.

The U.S. State Department has said as many as 2 million members of these ethnic groups have been taken to Chinese detention centers.

China denies that the facilities are internment camps.

Kazakhs are the second-largest Turkic-speaking indigenous community in Xinjiang after Uyghurs. The region is also home to ethnic Kyrgyz, Tajiks, and Hui, also known as Dungans.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.