Image: Gordon Johnson / Pixabay
By Tess Langbroek
The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ordered Malta not to deport two Uyghurs to China, The Independent reports.
The Uyghurs in question faced imminent deportation to China, which was interrupted by the court order to Malta not to remove them. Safeguard Defenders (NGO, Spain) filed the application on behalf of the Uyghur couple.
The applicants are Chinese nationals of Uyghur ethnicity. They came to Malta in Malta in 2016. Following the rejection of their application for International Protection in 2017, the applicants spent years living in hiding in Malta and were issued a deportation order on 1 August 2022.
The couple said they would face a severe risk of persecution in China based on their ethnicity and religion. On 12 January, Malta’s immigration authorities detained the couple at Safi Barracks, where the NGO lawyers met with them to discuss their case. In detention, the authorities confiscated the Uyghurs' mobile phones.
The Maltese court was given evidence of transnational persecution of Uyghurs and reprisals against their family members in "Xinjiang" since 2017, both of which they decided to ignore.