Reuters - Tue Mar 24, 2015
Thailand BANGKOK |
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre
A group of suspected Uighur Muslims has become the focus of a diplomatic tug-of-war in Thailand between China and Turkey, with both countries wanting to repatriate them and hundreds of other suspected Uighurs detained in Thailand as illegal immigrants.
The group of 17, all
from the same family, were detained by Thai police in March 2014 after
illegally entering overland from Cambodia, said their lawyer Worasit
Two of the family's 13 children were born in custody.
family, who use the name Teklimakan, have spent most of the past year
in the main police immigration detention center in Bangkok.
group claimed to be Turkish and, while still in detention, were issued
with passports by the Turkish Embassy and granted permission to travel
the 17 detainees are Chinese Uighurs who should be returned to the
northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang, according to court documents seen
people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang in the past two years,
prompting a crackdown by Chinese authorities and small numbers of
Uighurs to try and flee the country.