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THE STANS
Malaysia arrests Uighur escapee from Thailand
by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Nov 23, 2017


Thailand 'not deporting' runaway Uighurs: police
Bangkok (AFP) Nov 22, 2017 - Thai police on Wednesday said ethnic Uighur Muslims from China who escaped an immigration detention centre will not be deported -- if they are all recaptured -- despite a request by Beijing.

The dramatic pre-dawn jailbreak on Monday saw a group of 25 Uighurs use blankets to climb out of their cell in southern Thailand.

Five of them were arrested on Monday while one more was detained on Wednesday, Thai police said, with media reporting the escapee was found over the border in Malaysia.

The group were among hundreds of Uighurs, a Muslim minority that faces repression in western China, detained in 2014 in Thailand, sparking a tussle over their citizenship.

Uighurs intercepted in Thailand often say they are Turkish as Turkey shares ethnic links with them and accepts those who flee from China's restive Xinjiang region.

In 2015 Thailand forcibly deported 100 Uighurs to China.

On Tuesday Beijing again pressed Bangkok to send the escapees back to the mainland once they are caught.

But Thai authorities said they will not deport the group.

"We're not sending them anywhere as they have to go through a nationality verification process, which is what we had been doing before the escape," Thailand's deputy police spokesman Krissana Patanacharoen told AFP.

In August 2015 an unprecedented bomb attack on Bangkok's Erawan shrine killed 20 people, mostly ethnic Chinese tourists.

Two Uighur-origin men are facing trial for the bombing, seeding speculation that the attack was a revenge for the forced deportation of the previous month.

In an apparent coincidence on Wednesday, a Thai woman called Wanna Suansan was detained on arrival in Bangkok on a warrant linked to the shrine blast -- making her only the third of 17 suspects named by police to be arrested.

She has been charged with attempted murder, associated murder and possession of bombs and weapons, said police officer Sombat Milintrajinda.

Wanna spoke to AFP at the time from the Turkish city of Kayseri, denying any wrongdoing.

Thailand does not grant asylum to refugees but has said Uighurs can remain in Thai custody until their citizenship is established, with some 61 currently in detention across the country.

Malaysian authorities have arrested a Uighur Muslim man from China who was part of a group who made a dramatic escape from an immigration detention centre in Thailand, police said Thursday.

Asri Yusoff, police chief in the northern Malaysian state of Kedah, said the fugitive was picked up near the border with Thailand's Sadoa district, where the Thai immigration center is located.

"The detainee, in his 30s, entered Bukit Tangga near the Malaysia-Thai border on foot," he told AFP by phone.

"He is in good condition and we are making arrangements to send him back to Thailand," he added.

Local people tipped off police which led to the Uighur man's arrest, Asri said, adding that police have stepped up border surveillance and are distributing posters of the escapees to the public.

A group of 25 Uighurs used blankets to climb out of their cells in a daring pre-dawn escape from their cell in southern Thailand on Monday.

Five of them were arrested in Thailand on the same day and one more was detained on Wednesday, according to the Thai police.

The arrest of one escapee in Malaysia indicates that some of the group may have crossed into the country.

The group were among hundreds of Uighurs, a Muslim minority that faces repression in western China, detained in 2014 in Thailand, sparking a tussle over their citizenship.

Uighurs intercepted in Thailand often say they are Turkish as Turkey shares ethnic links with them and accepts those who flee from China's restive Xinjiang region.

Thailand does not grant asylum to refugees but has said Uighurs can remain in Thai custody until their citizenship is established, with some 61 currently in detention across the country.

In 2015 Thailand forcibly deported 100 Uighurs to China.

THE STANS
US military opens new, but risky front in Afghan air war
Washington (AFP) Nov 22, 2017
As the US military opens a new front in its air war in Afghanistan, targeting the Taliban's poppy-processing factories and dropping thousands more bombs, experts are warning of the risk of alienating the local population. The quickening tempo comes after President Donald Trump in August approved broad new powers for General John Nicholson, who commands US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. ... read more

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