An outspoken former detainee in China’s vast internment camps for Muslims says his U.S. visa application has been denied—despite the purpose of his trip being to testify to Congress about his ordeal. Kazakh national Omir Bekali was invited to travel to Washington, D.C. in September by the Congressional-Executive Committee on China. He says his application was rejected by the U.S. consulate in Istanbul because of questions about his employment. Bekali was one of the first people to speak out publicly about his traumas in a camp in China’s Xinjiang region, where an estimated one million Uighur and Kazakh Muslims are being detained. “They kept going back and forth. Why did they invite me and then reject my visa?” Bekali said. “I’ve received so many threats after speaking out, I feel like they should be able to do at least this simple request.” The State Department declined to comment on the case.
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