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Torture survivor makes criminal complaint ahead of UK visit by Xingjang governor

GLAN (Global Legal Action Network) has contributed submissions and evidence in support of torture survivor Erbakit Otarbay, who is seeking the arrest of Xinjiang governor, Erkin Tuniyaz (pictured right). The criminal complaint, which alleges Tuniyaz’s involvement in the torture of Otarbay and many others in Xinjiang, was filed by barrister Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers/Lawyers for Uyghur Rights.

Tuniyaz is to have talks with the UK government on 13th February 2023, and a request has been made for his arrest due to clear evidence of his involvement in the torture of Otarbay and thousands of other victims of China’s mass internment programme in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) focused on erasing its victims’ muslim identity. Since mid-2014, Tuniyaz has been vice chairman of the XUAR government, and was closely involved in drafting China’s ‘De-Extremification Regulation’, which provided the basis for the mass internment programme in which Otarbay was tortured. The UK exercises universal jurisdiction over torture and Tuniyaz can thus be arrested here.

This comes after GLAN and the World Uyghur Congress secured a landmark hearing at the High Court of England and Wales which challenged the importation of cotton made with the forced labour of Uyghurs and other Turkic people. The judge declined to uphold the challenge on the basis that further specific evidence is needed to link UK cotton consignments to Xinjiang, but highlighted the “striking consensus” around the scale and severity of the abuses in Xinjiang.

Director GLAN Gearóid Ó Cuinn said: “The UK should not provide safe haven for either the produce or the architects of genocide, torture, crimes against humanity or forced labour.”


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