A Uyghur man held in an airport in Qatar has sent out an appeal for help to avoid being deported to China, where he said he will face persecution, media reports said on Saturday.
Ablikim Yusup, 53, said in a video posted to Facebook from Doha International Airport that he fears for his safety if sent back.
“I need the world’s help,” Yusup said.
Formerly a resident of Pakistan, Yusup had tried to enter Europe by way of Bosnia, a Muslim-majority country, but had been sent back to Qatar, which now says it will deport him to Beijing, according to media reports.
Yusup had been reported earlier to have been booked on a Saturday morning flight from Qatar to Beijing, sources said.
Writing on Twitter on Saturday morning, Human Rights Watch president Kenneth Roth said that under pressure Qatar had not yet sent him back “to persecution in China.”
“The bad news: he may have only 24 hours. More pressure is needed on Qatar to respect its asylum obligations,” Roth wrote.
Speaking to RFA’s Uyghur Service, Dolkun Isa—president of the Germany-based exile World Uyghur Congress—said his organization has already requested U.S. and German authorities to urge Qatar not to send Yusup back.
“Many Uyghurs deported to China over the years have either disappeared or been sentenced to life [in prison] or death,” Isa said, adding, “Qatar is obligated under international law not to deport someone to a country where his life and liberty are in jeopardy.”
“I urge Qatar authorities not to deport Ablikim Yusup to China, but to allow him to leave for a safe third country,” Isa said.