A Moroccan court will hold an extradition hearing for Yidiresi Aishan today, a member of China’s Muslim Uyghur community, wanted by Beijing for terrorist acts committed in 2017.
Aishan was arrested on July 19 at Casablanca airport after arriving from Turkey, where he has lived since 2012. Aishan denies the allegations stating that he has not been in in China since 2012.
Today’s hearing comes at a time when an estimated one million Uyghur’s remain incarcerated in Xinjiang to date. Turkey has hosted approximately 100,00 Uyghurs that have fled persecution. Despite being a refuge, Turkey has been accused of extraditing Uyghurs back to China via third countries, such as Morocco or Tajikistan, on vague charges of terrorism.
Last year, China approved an extradition treaty with Turkey that raised concerns for the future of the Uyghur diaspora. However, Turkey has yet to ratify the treaty, facing strong opposition within its parliament and from its Uyghur population. Whilst Ankara has grown closer to Beijing in recent years, in particular economically, most Turkish leaders feel historically and culturally attached to the Uyghur community. Yet Beijing’s economic pressure, potentially in the form of COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy, could push Turkey towards ratification, increasing the extradition of Uyghur’s without Turkish citizenship in the short term.
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