WUC Urges Release of Information on Nurmemet Yasin

Press Release – For immediate release
4 January 2013
Contact: World Uyghur Congresswww.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or contact@uyghurcongress.org

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) calls on the government of the People’s Republic of China to immediately release information on the health and well-being of the currently-imprisoned Uyghur writer and poet Nurmemet Yasin. Concerns over the well-being of Mr. Nurmemet Yasin have become an urgent issue after rumours of his death surfaced on the Twitter account of Chinese legal scholar Teng Biao.

Mr Biao claimed Mr Nurmemet Yasin died a year ago while serving his 10 year prison sentence in Shaya prison. Since these rumours surfaced, both Radio Free Asia English Language Service and Radio Free Asia Mandarin Language Service have reported that a close relative of Mr Yasin has questioned the validity of these, stating she had contact with the author in July during the past year. Chinese Communist Party officials have failed to publically clarify the current status of the health and well-being of Mr Nurmemet Yasin.

The WUC also calls on the international community to pressure the government of the People’s Republic of China to release Nurmemet Yasin, thus fulfilling its moral obligations and commitments towards universal human rights in doing so. The Chinese penal system has a well documented culture of corruption and abuse, in which pro-democracy dissidents and ethnic minority prisoners – such as the ethnic Uyghurs – receive the worse treatment whilst in the Chinese penal system, often resulting in serious violations of their human rights, such as torture, maltreatment and death.

In a statement from Washington, D.C. World Uyghur Congress President and prominent Human rights activist Ms Rebiya Kadeer commented on the Nurmemet Yasin case saying that, “the Chinese government should immediately release information on the health of Nurmemet Yasin. Nurmemet has committed no crime, and the lack of transparency surrounding his purported health is evidence of the widespread mistreatment of the Uyghur people within the Chinese prison system. I have seen and experienced the violation of the Uyghur’s human rights whilst serving my own prison sentence on false charges by the Chinese state.”

Mr Nurmemet Yasin was arrested by Chinese authorities in 2004 after publishing his short story ‘Wild Pigeon’ in Kashgar Literature Magazine. Chinese Communist Party officials have claimed the story is a veiled critique of Chinese rule in East Turkestan (referred to by the Chinese government as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). Mr Nurmemet Yasin was given a 10 year prison sentence and was last known to be serving his sentence in Shaya prison. Nurmemet is a widely popular Uyghur language author and poet. Mr Yasin has contributed many culturally significant pieces, including three volumes of poetry prior to the publication of ‘Wild Pigeon’. His works have been featured in Uyghur language school textbooks throughout East Turkestan, and is available in English through Radio Free Asia.