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Australia says Uighur leader is no 'terrorist'

world Updated: Jul 31, 2009 09:26 IST

AFP
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Australia has rejected Chinese objections over a visit by exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, saying she is not a "terrorist" and there is no reason to exclude her.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Kadeer had been given a visa for next week's visit, during which she will launch a documentary about her life and meet members of Australia's Uighur community.

"This will be, I think, her third private visit," Smith told Sky News late on Thursday.

"We have no evidence or information that she's a terrorist and so she has been granted a visa in accordance with our usual immigration procedures."

China has called Kadeer's World Uighur Congress a separatist terrorist movement and accused the group of planning and instigating this month's deadly unrest in Urumqi, which left more than 190 people dead.

China has already complained to Australia over the visit, describing Kadeer as a "criminal."

"Rebiya Kadeer is a criminal," the Chinese embassy in Canberra said, according to The Australian newspaper.

"Facts have indicated that the violent crime on July 5 in Urumqi was instigated, masterminded and directed by the World Uighur Congress headed by Rebiya."

Kadeer, 62, on Friday ended a trip to Japan during which she claimed 10,000 people "disappeared" during the Xinjiang unrest, prompting an enraged Beijing to summon the Japanese ambassador in protest.