Abdulghani Memetemin

Released on 25 July 2011

Sentenced in June 2003 to nine years in prison for “supplying state secrets to an organization outside the country.”

According to Amnesty International, authorities detained Abdulghani Memetemin (age at detention: 38), a Uyghur journalist and teacher, on 26 July 2002 in Kashgar, East Turkestan. The Kashgar Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to nine years imprisonment on 24 June 2003, for “supplying state secrets to an organization outside the country,” a crime under Article 111 of China’s Criminal Law. Radio Free Asia reported that he also received three years deprivation of political rights. Memetemin had neither access to a lawyer during his pre-trial detention or legal representation at the trial. He reportedly was tortured while in custody.

According to the verdict, Abdulghani Memetemin had been providing information to the East Turkestan Information Centre (ETIC), an NGO run by exiled Uyghurs in Germany which publicises reports of human rights abuses against Uyghurs in China. His postings reportedly covered various issues, including information about Uyghur farmers allegedly being forced to work without pay in government projects, confiscation and burning of Uighur history books, restrictions on Islamic religious practices, and the difficulties faced by the unemployed. ETIC was formally labelled a “terrorist organisation” by the Chinese authorities in December 2003, although the evidence for this conclusion is unclear.

The charges against Abdulghani Memetemin consisted of 18 specific counts, including: translating records of human rights violations in East Turkestan and ETIC documents into Chinese; sending news articles and transcriptions of speeches by the Chinese authorities to ETIC; and trying to recruit additional reporters for ETIC.

Amnesty International considered Abdulghani Memetemin to be a human rights defender, reporting peacefully on human rights violations against the ethnic Uighur community in East Turkestan. He is also a prisoner of conscience detained in violation of his fundamental human rights to freedom of expression and association.

Abdulghani Memetemin, a father of two, served his prison sentence in Xinjiang No. 4 Prison. He was due for release on 25 July 2011, however it is unclear if he has been released or not.

He is an honorary member of the Uyghur PEN, German and Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC).

Sources:

Amnesty International, “China: More activists stand up for human rights, despite risks”, AI Index: ASA 17/059/2004, 6 December 2004, available at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/059/2004/en

Amnesty International, “China: Human rights defenders at risk”, ASA 17/045/2004, 6 December 2004, available at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/045/2004/en

Amnesty International, The Wire, December 2004. Vol. 34, No. 11, available at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/NWS21/011/2004/en

Committee to protect Journalists (CPJ), “Imprisoned Journalists in 2010”, 1 December 2010, available at: http://www.cpj.org/imprisoned/2010.php#china

Radio Free Asia (RFA), China Jails Uyghur Journalist For “Separatism”, 30 July 2004, available at: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/politics/142490-20040730.html

Rebiya Kadeer in The Wall Street Journal China’s Uighur Oppression Continues, 04 August 2010, available at: http://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/?p=3710 and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704017904575408650462789996.html

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Entry for “Abdulghani Memetemin” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number:  2005-00047), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=5543

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Uyghur Political Prisoners Mehbube Ablesh’s and Abdulghani Memetemin’s Prison Sentences Expire, 18 October 2011, available at: http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=163986

 

[Last updated: November 2011]