Dolkun Isa: UNPO Issues Letter to MEPs

UNPO issues letter with urgency securing support from the European Parliament for a safe release of the currently detained Mr. Dolkun Isa, Secretary General of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC).

A copy of the letter is published below:

The Hague, 16 September 2009

Dear MEP,

Re: Detention of Mr. Dolkun Isa (Secretary General, World Uyghur Congress)

It is with urgency that I must inform you of the detention of Mr. Dolkun Isa by the domestic security forces of South Korea upon his arrival in the country to attend the World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA) in Seoul.

According to information received by UNPO, Mr. Isa’s detention is based on groundless Chinese accusations that he was in some way involved in the unrest that swept East Turkestan in July 2009.  Mr. Isa has already been questioned for a number of hours in Seoul and is deeply concerned by apparent attempts by the Chinese authorities to secure his extradition to the People’s Republic of China.

Following years of intimidation in China on account of his work for the World Uyghur Congress, Mr. Isa was forced to seek asylum in Europe and now holds German citizenship.  If extradited, Mr. Isa is certain to face a summary trial and execution on account of his advocacy work for the World Uyghur Congress.

UNPO is appealing to the South Korean authorities to ensure Mr. Isa’s safety and to reject any attempts by Chinese authorities to extradite him but we would urge you to engage the European Parliament and make the South Korean authorities aware of the high level of international concern regarding Mr. Isa’s detention.

Yours sincerely,

Marino Busdachin
General Secretary


South Korea Bars Uighur Activist

SEOUL – South Korean immigration authorities stopped a prominent Uighur activist, Dolkun Isa of Germany, from entering the country for a conference on democracy, the government confirmed Thursday.

Mr. Isa, secretary-general for the World Uighur Congress, flew to Seoul’s international airport on Tuesday but wasn’t allowed to enter the country. Several officials at the Justice Ministry declined to discuss the case.

One ministry official said Thursday morning that Mr. Isa remained at Incheon International Airport. Later in the day, officials at the ministry and the airport declined to answer questions about Mr. Isa’s whereabouts.

Mr. Isa fled China in 1997 and was given asylum in Germany that year. He became a German citizen in 2006. Chinese authorities have long called Mr. Isa a terrorist and viewed his work as a challenge to its authority in regions of northwest China that are populated by Uighurs.

However, Mr. Isa has flown to many countries without difficulty for years. The conference he was scheduled to attend in Seoul, a biennial event called the World Forum for Democratization in Asia, began Wednesday and concludes Friday.

South Korea has demonstrated sensitivity about upsetting China, its largest trading partner, in the past. In April last year, for instance, South Korea tamped down public criticism in the wake of an episode of violence by Chinese college students in the country.

Since Mr. Isa was barred entry, some participants in the event and several non-governmental organizations sent letters to South Korean agencies to protest.

“Mr. Isa is a German citizen and should be accorded all the rights and protection afforded to any citizen of that country by South Korea,” Marino Busdachin, general secretary of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, said in a letter.

Taiwan, which is considered by China to be a breakaway province, is a co-founder of Mr. Busdachin’s organization. Mr. Isa has participated in some of its events in the past.

Earlier this year, Taiwanese news media falsely reported that Mr. Isa had secretly come to the island, leading Taiwanese immigration authorities to declare that he would be barred from there. Mr. Isa was at home in Germany as that episode unfolded.


South Korea prevents Uighur activist from entering country – Summary

Seoul – South Korean immigration authorities stopped an exiled Uighur activist accused by China of terrorist activities from entering the country. Dolkun Isa, 42, has remained since his arrival Tuesday at Incheon International Airport outside Seoul, an immigration official said Thursday without giving any further information.

Isa is staying in the airport’s transit area, informed sources said.

If and when Isa could leave South Korea was unclear as human rights groups worried that he might be sent to China, where he could face the death penalty.

Isa – the secretary general of the Munich-based World Uighur Congress, an exile group of the Chinese ethnic minority – has been on China’s list of wanted terrorists since 2003. He has denied China’s charges against him, saying the Chinese government considers all Uighur activities for self-determination, freedom and human rights as terrorist in nature.

Isa acquired German citizenship after fleeing China in 1997 and being given asylum in Germany. The German embassy in Seoul is looking into his case.

Isa’s immediate release was demanded by The Hague-based international interest group, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.

The group said he travelled Tuesday to Seoul to attend the World Forum for Democratization in Asia and claimed he was arrested at the airport on an Interpol arrest warrant.

The information on his arrest was not confirmed by South Korean authorities.

“We believe that this arrest warrant was obtained by China to muzzle the most important Uighur human rights campaigners in exile,” said Ulrich Delius, the Asia pointman for the organization.

Marino Busdachin, general secretary of the group, maintained that the charges against Isa were “fabricated” and his arrest “threatened the image of South Korea as a lodestar for democracy” in Asia. He urged Seoul to resist his extradition to China, where he faces execution.

The Uighurs, who have long complained of discrimination at the hands of China’s government, live in the north-western region of Xinjiang. Tensions between them and China’s Han majority in the region erupted in July into violence, which continued this month with further clashes. They government said about 200 people were killed.


SKorea bars Uighur activist from forum: organisers

SEOUL — South Korea has barred a leading Uighur activist from entering the country to attend a democracy forum and is detaining him at the main airport, organisers said Thursday.

Dolkun Isa, secretary general of the World Uighur Congress, has been held at Incheon airport since Tuesday night, according to the World Forum for Democratisation in Asia.

Bo Tedards, an organiser of the three-day event that began in Seoul on Wednesday, said he suspected Chinese pressure prompted the ban on Isa.

Beijing accuses Isa’s group of exiled Uighurs of fomenting violence in its northwestern region of Xinjiang.

“I don’t know the details legally but the reason why they don’t allow him in is because there is pressure from China,” Tedards told AFP.

He said South Korean immigration authorities were holding Isa despite his wish to return home to Germany.

“We are angry about it. Right now we are concerned about him because we don’t understand why they want to keep him here,” Tedards said.

“We can’t think of any good reasons. We can only think of bad reasons.”

Isa fled China in 1997 and was granted asylum in Germany. He secured German citizenship in 2006.

South Korea’s justice ministry refused to comment on the case or even confirm it was detaining Isa.

China reacted angrily when Japan in July allowed Rebiya Kadeer, head of the World Uighur Congress, to visit Tokyo for a private forum.

It also tried to have a documentary about her life withdrawn from a film festival in the Australian city of Melbourne.

Beijing labels Kadeer a criminal and charges that she instigated violence in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi in July between Han Chinese and Uighurs.

Beijing says nearly 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, were killed and more than 1,600 injured in the worst ethnic violence in the country for decades.

China is South Korea’s largest trade partner, with total trade in 2008 worth 168.3 billion dollars.

WUC Secretary General ReleasedSeptember 18, 2009

WUC Secretary General Released



Days of concern have ended with the release of Mr. Dolkun Isa from detention in South Korea.  Mr. Isa returned to Germany after being prevented from attending an international democracy forum, but questions continue to be asked about the reasons behind his detention.

Mr. Dolkun Isa, Secretary General of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has finally been released from his detention under the supervision of South Korean security forces in Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea.

Mr Isa was escorted on to the next available outbound flight via Dubai, securing him a transfer and safe return to Munich, Germany where he has been a citizen since 2006.

Mr. Isa’s purpose in South Korea had been to attend a conference held by the World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA). Due to his detention Mr. Isa was unable to attend and no explanation has been released concerning his detention.

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) welcomes Mr Isa’s release and offers its gratitude to the European Parliament, South Korean authorities, German Embassy and other contributing international bodies for their intervention on Mr Isa’s behalf.

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