Merdan Seyitakhun, Qurbanjan Abdusemet & Another 10 Uyghur Men

Sentence: 12 Uyghur men were arrested in 2008 for their religious activities and sentenced to various prison terms for “splitting the state.”

Merdan Seyitakhun (Siyitahun), 37 years old at detention, was arrested on 14 April 2008 and sentenced to life in prison. His lawyer was assigned by the government. Authorities said Merdan had committed “acts of separatism” by providing “illegal” religious education to Uyghur children. According to a July 2011 Radio Free Asia (RFA) article, Merdan´s family members and his wife and two children are constantly harassed by the authorities and they rely on charity from the Uyghur community because they have no income because of Merdan´s imprisonment.

Qurbanjan Abdusemet (Kurbanjan Semet), 26 years old at detention, was given the 10-year sentence after his sale of books and videos about Islam was linked by Chinese authorities to charges of separatism. His younger brother, 24-year-old Abdugheni Abdusemet, was sentenced along with Qurbanjan (both are from of Nilqa county, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture), but was released after serving three years in prison because he suffered from mental problems that his mother Meryembuwi said are a result of abuse while incarcerated. He now lives with his parents, who care for him. According to Qurbanjan and Abdugheni Abdusemet’s mother, authorities detained them for “engaging in illegal religious activities” after they sold to Uyghurs state-sanctioned religious publications from other provinces. Meryembuwi said Qurbanjan’s youngest brother, 22-year-old Mikhat, was also wanted by authorities but fled the area and may be living in another country. When police could not locate Mikhat, they detained their father, Abdusemet, for 40 days and called on him to answer for his sons’ deeds. Information on Qurbanjan’s prison location and the location where Abdugheni served his sentence is not available.

According to RFA information, authorities in Xinjiang detained Merdan and Qurbanjan together with ten Uyghur men from Ghulja (Yining) and Nelka (Nileke) counties and Ghulja (Yining) city, Ili (Yili) Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, between March-June 2008. The detentions were connected to religious activities.

The Ili Intermediate People’s Court sentenced them on 24 March 2009 to prison terms from 3 years to life for “splitting the state,” a crime under article 103 of the Criminal Law. The other arrested are:

Last known to be held at the Ghulja PSB detention center:

  • Ahmetjan Emet (15 years)
  • Seydehmet Awut (10 years)
  • Erkin Emet (10 years)
  • Abdujilil Abdughupur (6 years)
  • Abdulitip Ablimit (6 years)

Last known to be held at the Ili PSB detention center:

  • Mewlanjan Ahmet (10 years)
  • Dolkun Erkin (10 years)
  • Omerjan Memet (10 years)
  • Mutelip Rozi (6 years)
  • Ubulkasim (3 years)

Sources:

Radio Free Asia (RFA), Uyghur siyasiy mehbusliri ailisige kéliwatqan bésimlar (1), 13 July 2011, available at:http://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/tepsili_xewer/xiyasiy-mehbus-07132011163832.html?encoding=latin

Radio Free Asia (RFA), Virtual Jails for Prisoner Families, 15 July 2011, available at:  http://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/families-07152011125323.html

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), China: Vice President Should Speak Out on Religious Freedom Cases, 16 August 2011, available at: http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/3648-uscirf-vice-president-should-speak-out-on-religious-freedom-cases.html

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Merdan Seyitakhun” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number:  2009-00314), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7508

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Ahmetjan Emet’” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00322), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7516

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Seydehmet Awut” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00323), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7517

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Abdulitip Ablimit” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00326), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7520

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Omerjan Memet” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00330), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7524

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Ubulkasim” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00332), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7526

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Erkin Emet” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00324), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7518

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Abdujilil Abdughupur” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00325), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7519

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Mewlanjan Ahmet” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00327), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7521

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Dolkun Erkin” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00329), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7523

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Mutelip Rozi” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number:         2009-00331), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7525

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Kurbanjan Semet” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00328), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=7522

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on ChinaEntry for “Qurbanjan Abdusemet” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2011-00549), available at: http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=9044

[Last updated: November 2011]