TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – Uzbek authorities said that the fingerprints of a Canadian Islamic religious leader held in police custody in Uzbekistan match those of a Turkish man wanted by Interpol on suspicion of terrorism and murder.
In a statement posted on a government Web site late Thursday, Noufal Kholmatov, deputy director of the Uzbek branch of Interpol, said that Huseyincal Celil's fingerprints matched those of Turkish citizen Guler Dilaver, who it said was accused of terror activities in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.
The statement said Dilaver was accused of "membership in terrorist groups, kidnapping, hostage-taking, murder and illegal possession of arms."
Celil, who has lived in Canada since 2002, was arrested March 27 in Uzbekistan, where he traveled to renew his visa and visit his Uzbek wife's relatives.
A political activist who fought for the rights of dominant ethnic Uighurs in western China's Xinjiang province, he escaped a Chinese prison in 2000, Kholmatov said.
The Interpol officer added that after the escape Celil was involved in the murder of an Uighur community leader and an attack on a visiting official delegation from Xinjiang in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.
He is wanted by Chinese authorities and could face execution if deported.
Chinese authorities have long maintained that militants among the Uighurs, Turkish-speaking Muslims, are leading a violent Islamic separatist movement in the region and are seeking to set up an independent state of "East Turkistan."
Celil's wife Kamila Telendibayeva returned to Canada last month after she was repeatedly denied visits to see her husband in jail in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan's government is seen as one of the most repressive in the former Soviet Union and is a close ally of Beijing. President Islam Karimov, who has ruled the Central Asian nation with an iron fist since 1989, has drawn international condemnation for cracking down on political foes and dissident Muslims, thousands of whom have been jailed.