Kazakhstan court frees camp worker who fled China to reunite with family
A court in Kazakhstan on Wednesday freed a former Chinese re-education camp worker who had fled China to reunite with her family in the Central Asian nation, local news agency Tengrinews.kz reported.
The family of Sairagul Sauytbai, an ethnic Kazakh from China's Xinjiang province, has said she could face harsh punishment for speaking out about the camps if the Astana government sent her back to China.
Her case highlights the Astana government's delicate situation as it seeks to protect ethnic Kazakhs while maintaining good relations with Beijing, a major investor.
The Chinese government has refused to comment on reports of mass detention in Xinjiang which has significant Uighur and Kazakh populations and where Beijing has for years struggled with a separatist movement.
Sauytbai's husband, Islam Aliuly, and their two children have obtained Kazakh citizenship, but she has been unable to do the same because, according to her husband, her documents had been taken away by the authorities.
Aliuly, the husband, said she was appalled by what she saw at the camp and started fearing she would eventually end up there as an inmate, too, which was why she decided to flee.
On Wednesday, a court in the town of Zharkent in southeastern Kazakhstan, close to the Chinese border, gave Sauytbai a suspended six-month sentence, effectively setting her free and deciding against deportation.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)