Human Rights Watch (HRW) cited Norway-based Uyghur activist Abduweli Ayup as saying that authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested 52-year-old Muslim religious scholar Hamidulla Wali along with his roommate Nurmemet Rozi on the evening of Nov. 20—the night before the country hosted the two-day virtual G20 leaders’ summit.
Wali, the former owner of Hadiya Clothing, based in the capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), told RFA’s Uyghur Service earlier this month that he had arrived in Saudi Arabia in February to perform the umrah hajj, a form of the holy Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that can be taken at any point during the year. He said at the time that he had been unable to return to Turkey, where he has been a resident since 2016, after travel routes were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wali claimed that a source in Saudi Arabia had informed him that Chinese authorities made an official request to the Saudi government to arrest and deport him to China, although he did not elaborate on why at the time. Wali said he was also advised to go into hiding shortly before police first began looking for him in July.