2 years in detention: Uyghur activist Idris Hasan must be released

July 20, 2023

Marking the 2 year anniversary of his arrest, MENA Rights Group and Safeguard Defenders call on Moroccan authorities to cancel extradition proceedings against Uyghur activist Idris Hasan and to ensure his passage to a safe country.

On July 19, 2021, Uyghur activist Yidiresi Aishan (also known as Idris Hasan), was arrested in Casablanca, Morocco, on the basis of an abusive Interpol Red Notice. 

Today, two years later, Idris Hasan remains in detention and at continued risk of extradition. MENA Rights Group and Safeguard Defenders condemn Hasan’s ongoing detention and call on the Moroccan authorities to cancel the extradition proceedings. Furthermore, Hasan must be granted access to a safe country where his protection from extradition is guaranteed.

Idris Hasan is an Uyghur of Muslim faith, who holds Chinese citizenship. He and his family are originally from Korla in the Xinjiang province. Due to the Chinese central government’s severe discriminatory practices against Uyghurs, Hasan and his family moved to Turkey in 2012 where Hasan was active as a human rights defender for his community and contributed to dissemination efforts of the Uyghur language and plight. 

While transiting in Casablanca airport on the night of July 19-20, 2021, Hasan was arrested. The following day, he was informed that he was “the subject of a red notice issued by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol),” at the request of China. 

Fulfilling China’s demand, the Moroccan Attorney General filed an extradition request on July 28, 2021, with the President of the Rabat Court of Cassation. 

Meanwhile, in August 2021, Interpol cancelled its red notice against Hasan, stating it violated the Statute of the Organization which prohibits persecution for political, ethnic or religious reasons. 

On August 11, 2021, several UN Special Procedures mandate holders sent an urgent appeal to Morocco, highlighting the risk of "serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, or torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" that Hasan could face, if deported to China.

Despite repeated civil society calls to not extradite Hasan, which would constitute a violation of the principle of non-refoulement enshrined in the UN Convention against Torture, the Rabat Court of Cassation ruled in favor of China’s extradition request on December 15, 2021.

However, the extradition was not carried out. On December 20, 2021, the UN Committee against Torture issued interim measures, obliging Morocco to suspend the extradition of Hasan pending the review of his case.

Whilst the Moroccan authorities did not carry out his extradition, Hasan remains detained in Tiflet prison, Morocco. In the absence of periodic judicial review, individual assessment and credible grounds, we believe that his detention may amount to arbitrary detention. This assessment is further compounded by the recent Liu v. Poland ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

Two years after his arrest on the basis of an abusive red notice, we call on the Moroccan authorities to cancel the extradition proceedings against him in light of the principle of non-refoulement. He must be released accordingly so that he can seek protection in a safe country. 


MENA Rights Group & Safeguard Defenders

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