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Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay says Beijing has assured him that a Canadian Muslim activist serving a life sentence in a Chinese jail has not been tortured.

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi "assured me that this was not the case, that there had been no signs of torture or mistreatment of Mr. (Huseyin) Celil," MacKay said Monday, after meetings in Beijing.

In February, Celil told a Chinese court that he had been starved and deprived of sleep, his family claims.

MacKay said he urged that Canadian diplomats be allowed to meet with Celil and check into such claims.

"We'd very much like to have access ourselves to make that determination, and what I can assure you is that we will continue to insist upon this access," he said.

Celil, who belongs to the Uighur Muslim minority of far western China, holds Canadian citizenship. The Chinese-born man came to Canada via Uzbekistan and Turkey after escaping from a Chinese jail in 2000.

A Chinese court found him guilty last week of convicted for the two crimes of "separating China and ... organizing, leading and participating in terrorist groups, organizations." Source...

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China claims Celil has never been tortured