Yasim Kari, Abla Karim and another two men

Yasim Kari (aged about 35 at detention) and Abla Karim (aged about 40 at detention), two Uyghur mullahs (religious teachers) from Kashgar, were forcibly returned by Kazakhstan to China in September 1998 along with their 4 children (Kari´s children: a 12 year-old girl called Mina, a 10 year-old boy called Kersen, and a boy aged 5; Karim´s 8 year-old son), and 2 other men (Karim´s 70 year-old uncle, and another man aged about 30 whose identity is not known).

The two men had fled China in July 1998 and reached Kazakhstan in August 1998. Yasim Kari and Abla Karim fled because they feared they would be arrested for refusing to praise Communist policies in their mosques. Yasim Kari had previously been detained for four months in China in 1995 because he formed a religious class.

The Uyghurs were detained by Kazakh custom police at Almaty airport in Kazakhstan on or around 25 August 1998 as they were about to board a plane for another country. The custom police reportedly detained them because unlike other travelers, they had PRC passports and they refused to pay bribes allegedly demanded by the officers. The Kazakh authorities reportedly immediately informed the PRC Embassy in Almaty of the group’s detention and the embassy requested the group’s extradition to China. After being returned to China, the group was detained. The authorities first detained them in Urumqi, before moving them to a detention center in Kashgar. The children were detained for eighteen days. Three of the men’s wives were also reportedly detained in September 1998 for interrogation about their husbands’ escape. Two of them were released at the end of September, but the fate of the third one is not known.

As of April 1999, Yasim Kari, Abla Karim, and the two other men with them remained in detention.

Additional information about their cases, including charges against them, if any, and possible release dates, are not available.

Sources:

Amnesty International (AI), CHINA: Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Appeal for Uighurs arbitrarily detained, ASA 17/002/1999, 1 January 1999, available at:  https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/002/1999/en

Amnesty International (AI), People’s Republic of China:  Gross Violations of Human Rights in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, 31 March 1999, available at: www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/018/1999/en

US Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Entry for “Yasim Kari” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2010-00647), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=8366

US Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Entry for “Abla Karim” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2010-00648), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=8367