Mehbube Ablesh

Released

Sentenced in August 2008 to three years in prison for “inciting splittism.”

According to Radio Free Asia, Mehbube Ablesh (born in 1979), a Uyghur employee in the advertising department at the Xinjiang People’s Radio Station in Urumqi was fired from her job in August 2008 and placed in detention, in apparent connection to her criticism of Chinese government policy in the region.

At that time, charges against her and subsequent information on the case remained unknown. A co-worker connected the detention to articles she wrote for the Internet. An overseas source said that in her communications with him

, she had been critical of political leaders in the XUAR and had criticized Mandarin-focused language policies in the region. A source also noted she had posted articles on the Internet that criticized government security measures for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games and government handling of collecting donations from Uyghurs following the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Following the detention, charges against Mehbube Ablesh and subsequent information on the case appeared unknown until summer 2010, when the Dui Hua Foundation reported newly obtained information on her case. Based on responses to a request for information from Chinese authorities, the Dui Hua Foundation reported that Mehbube Ablesh (identified as Mehbube Abrak in the report) was serving a three-year prison sentence for “splittism” (separatism), a crime under Article 103 of China’s Criminal Law, in apparent connection to her criticism of Chinese government policies. The date of Mehbube Ablesh’s sentencing is not known. Given the relatively short length of the sentence and circumstances of the case, Dui Hua conjectures that the full charge could be “inciting splittism,” rather than “splittism,” a more serious crime.

She was serving her sentence in the Xinjiang Women’s Prison (Xinjiang No. 2 Prison) in Urumqi.

Under Article 47 of China’s Criminal Law, each day in custody counts as one day served of a prison sentence. Although the precise date of Mehbube Ablesh’s detention is not known, if authorities followed the law in calculating her sentence from the day around August 2008 when she appears to have been detained, her sentence would have expired on the same date in 2011. However, it is unknown whether she has been released or not.

She is an honorary member of the Independent Chinese PEN and the Uyghur PEN (www.uyghurpen.org).

Sources:

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

Dui Hua Foundation‘s summer 2010 Dialogue Newsletter, Official Responses to Uyghur Prisoner List Reveal Information on Unique Cases, available at: http://www.duihua.org/work/publications/nl/dialogue/nl_txt/nl40/nl40_3a.htm

International PEN, Uighur journalist and writer detained, 2008, available at:  http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/2891/prmID/1691

Radio Free Asia (RFA), Uyghur Radio Worker Sacked, Detained, 08 September 2008, available at: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/radio-09082008141404.html?searchterm=None

Radio Free Asia (RFA), Tutqun mehbube ablesh heqqide toluqlima melumatlar, 8 September 2008, available at: http://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/tepsili_xewer/mehbube-ablesh-turmide2-09082008205116.html/story_main?encoding=latin

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Entry for “Mehbube Ablesh” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number:  2008-00545), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7043

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, New Information Released on Uyghur Political Prisoners Mehbube Ablesh and Omer Akchi, Commission Analysis, 11 October 2010, available at: http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=146218

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]