|South Korea holding, General
Secretary of World Uyghur Congress at airport
By HYUNG-JIN KIM (AP)
SEOUL, South Korea — Immigration officials stopped an
ethnic Uighur activist from
Germany from entering South Korea and have been holding
him at an airport since early this week, officials said
Dolkun Isa, formerly from China, who is , has been held
at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, since
he arrived Tuesday, according to South Korea's justice
and foreign ministries.
Uighurs are a minority Muslim group native to western
China, where July ethnic unrest left nearly 200 dead,
according to official count.
Ministry officials refused to say why they were holding
Isa, but Yonhap news agency reported that authorities
were investigating him because he is on a Chinese list
of alleged terrorists.
Yonhap cited an unidentified German Embassy official in
Seoul. Calls to the embassy late Thursday went
The Chinese government has accused the U.S.-based leader
of the pro-independence World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya
Kadeer, of fomenting the July unrest but has publicized
little evidence to support its claims.
Isa, reached by his German mobile phone, said Thursday
that airport immigration officials haven't explained to
him why he is being held.
"I don't know what the reason is," he said. "Korean
immigration officials don't explain ... and just said I
should stay here."
In Berlin, a Foreign Ministry official said German and
South Korean officials have been discussing ways to find
a solution but he refused to provide further details.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said she
had not heard of Isa's case.
Isa, who sought asylum in Germany in 1996 after being
forced to leave China, said he planned to talk about
Uighur issues at the World Forum for Democratization in
Asia, which started Wednesday. Isa said he still hopes
South Korea will allow him to attend the three-day forum
The Dutch-based Underrepresented Nations and Peoples
Organization issued a statement Wednesday urging South
Korea to release Isa immediately.
Isa's detention "threatened the image of South Korea as
a lodestar for democracy" in Asia, UNPO General
Secretary Marino Busdachin said.
The statement urged South Korea to reject what it called
"completely ... fabricated accusations leveled against
him by Chinese authorities" and not to extradite him to
China where it said he would be certain to face summary