URGENT ACTION: SON OF UIGHUR ACTIVIST TORTURED IN PRISON

 

URGENT ACTION

SON OF UIGHUR ACTIVIST TORTURED IN PRISON

Alim Abdiriyim, son of Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, is being tortured and otherwise ill-treated in detention, according to his family. They believe his life is at risk. He has been in prison in Urumqi, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China since 2006 on tax evasion charges,

According to sources in China, Alim Abdiriyim has suffered a serious deterioration in his health and shows signs of physical and psychological trauma. He is reported to have said that the prison authorities were “turning a blind eye to what was happening” to him in prison, had not given him the medical attention he required, and that if the situation persisted he feared for his life. Rebiya Kadeer and her family believe his life to be at risk unless urgent action is taken to urge the authorities to address the situation.

Alim Abdiriyim was detained on 30 May 2006 and severely beaten by police. On 13 June 2006, he was charged with tax evasion, following an investigation by the authorities into the family business, and “subversion of state power”. In November 2006, Alim was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 62,500 US$. He is believed to have confessed to the charges after being tortured while in detention. 

Rebiya Kadeer’s family has been targeted by the authorities since she was first detained as a prisoner of conscience in 1999. This intensified after she was released on medical parole on 17 March 2005 and left China for the USA. Alim Abdiriyim and his brother Kahar Abdiriyim were sentenced on 27 November 2006, the day after Rebiya Kadeer was elected president of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC). Amnesty International believes that the pattern of retribution against Rebiya Kadeer’s family for her human rights activities casts serious doubt on the credibility of the police investigation into their business affairs and the fairness of the trial process. 

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UAA stands with the victims of terrorism on September 11

09/10/2010 | Press Releases 

 For immediate release

September 10, 2010, 10:20 am EST

Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 478-1920

Nine years ago, terrorists attacked America and the freedoms America stands for. The Uyghur American Association (UAA) mourns the loss of those killed in the attack, and stands with the victims of terrorism around the globe.

“Today, the United States is rebuilding in the wake of the September 11 attacks, even as it remembers the loss of so many innocent people, and the deep wound this caused to the entire nation,” said Uyghur human rights leader Rebiya Kadeer. “America continues to stand as a beacon of hope and freedom to people throughout the world.”

Thousands of Americans from all walks of life perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. Citizens of dozens of other countries were also killed in the attacks, and we must remember that terrorism threatens all civilized nations in the world and remains a constant threat to all free societies.

“The Uyghur people support the global struggle against terrorism, and we know that democracy and human rights can only be achieved and sustained through dialogue and peaceful means,” said Ms. Kadeer. “The desire of the Uyghur people, and people throughout the world, to live in a peaceful and free society is threatened by acts of terrorism.”

In the past nine years, the Chinese government has used the threat of terrorism and the sad occasion of September 11 as a justification for its repressive treatment of Uyghurs in East Turkestan and has re-branded its repressive actions against peaceful Uyghurs as “anti-terror” efforts. The Chinese regime continues to attempt to portray the Uyghur people’s struggle for the recognition and protection of their fundamental human rights as being motivated by violent and ‘terrorist’ intent.

This campaign against the Uyghur people has resulted in a deteriorating human rights situation in East Turkestan. A series of crackdowns has led to detentions, arrests, torture, and executions, as the PRC government has attempted to silence all forms of Uyghur protest, no matter how peaceful, by labeling them as “terrorism”. Internationally, the PRC has used its influence within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to pressure neighboring countries to return Uyghur activists to China, where they are subjected to the country’s arbitrary and non-transparent legal system. In addition, the government has attempted to influence overseas Uyghur activists by harassing family members who remain in East Turkestan.

Since July 5, 2009, when security forces brutally repressed a peaceful demonstration of Uyghurs in the regional capital of Urumchi, and ethnic violence broke out in the city, the Chinese government has not moved to heal the ethnic divide between Uyghurs and Chinese or recognize the legitimate grievances raised by Uyghur demonstrators. Chinese officials have instead actively worked to further heighten ethnic tensions, and to silence Uyghurs whose voices may have provided a bridge between the two ethnic groups. Chinese authorities have categorized the July 5 protests as an incident orchestrated by “outside hostile forces”, including terrorist groups, and among the many Uyghurs arbitrarily detained in the wake of the July 5, 2009 unrest have been a number of Uyghur journalists and website staff.

“For the Chinese government to become a truly responsible member of the international community, it must promote human rights and democracy for all of its citizens, and stop misusing the “war on terror” to persecute Uyghurs,” said Ms. Kadeer. “Only in this way will it be able to ensure peace and stability in East Turkestan and throughout the People’s Republic of China.”

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China Bars All Reporting On Deadly Explosion

Originally published by Scoop.co.nz,20 August 2010

Press Release: International Federation of Journalists 

 The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned about a blanket ban by China’s Central Propaganda Department on reporting by any media, including the state-owned Xinhua News Agency, of an explosion in western China that killed seven people.

The ban was issued immediately after the explosion in Aksu City, Xinjiang, Uyghur Autonomous Region, on August 19. Fourteen people were injured.

The order said media must not republish any reports by Xinhua News Agency or Xinjiang local media outlets, or compile individual reports.

Xinhua reported that the explosion was caused by a bomb, and that a suspect was arrested at the scene. “The motive behind what appears to be a bomb blast in China’s western Xinjiang region is not yet clear,” the Xinhua report said. “But many will suspect it is linked to the region’s ongoing ethnic tension.”

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PEN Appeal: Gheyret Niyaz, Dilshat Perhat, Nureli, and Nijat Azat

Originally published by PEN American senter

August 11, 2010

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Nur Bekri
Chairman of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Regional People’s Government
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
2 Zhongshanlu
Wulumuqishi 830041
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu
P. R. China

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our serious concern regarding the sentences handed to Uighur journalist and editor Gheyret Niyaz (Ch: Hailaite Niyazi), and webmasters Dilshat Perhat, Nureli, and Nijat Azat.

According to our information, on July 23, 2010, Gheyret Niyaz, freelance journalist and former editor of the web site Uighur Online, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court on charges of “endangering state security.” The charge is reportedly based on an interview he gave to the Hong Kong-based magazine Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly) on August 2, 2009, regarding the ethnic unrest in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, last July. He is appealing his sentence. Gheyret Niyaz was detained on October 1, 2009, and is still being held in Tianshan Detention Center in Urumqi.

Three other Uighur webmasters arrested in August 2009 were also reportedly convicted of “endangering state security” and given lengthy sentences by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court in late July 2010 for material published on their Uighur-language web sites. In trials closed to the public, Dilshat Perhat, webmaster and owner of Diyarim, was sentenced to five years in prison; Nureli, webmaster of Salkin, was sentenced to three years in prison; and Nijat Azat, webmaster of Shabnam, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. All three web sites have since been blocked.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned that Gheyret Niyaz, Dilshat Perhat, Nureli, and Nijat Azat have been sentenced solely for the peaceful expression of their views. We are extremely troubled that their convictions and the charges against them seem to be part of a targeted crackdown on freedom of expression in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, which is a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, as well as China’s own constitution. We therefore call for their immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all others detained in Xinjiang in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

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Freedom on the “Net: A Global Assessment

Originally published by TMC News,Aug 04, 2010 

 By Daniel Calingaert and Sarah Cook Even

(STATE DEPARTMENT RELEASE/ContentWorks via COMTEX) –By Daniel Calingaert and Sarah Cook Even as the Internet offers citizens greater means of expression, a leading nongovernmental organization reports that many governments seek to restrict Internet access and content.

Daniel Calingaert is deputy director of programs at Freedom House, a nonprofit organization receiving funding from the U.S. State Department, Google, and other sources to promote Internet freedom. Sarah Cook is a research analyst specializing in Asia. She served as assistant editor for the 2009 publication Freedom on the “Net. This article appears in the “Defining Internet Freedom” issue of eJournal USA.

As access to online technologies has grown exponentially in recent years, the Internet has increased opportunities to enrich public discourse, expose abuses of power, and facilitate citizen activism. It has provided greater space for free expression in both democratic settings and countries where traditional broadcast and print media are restricted. Many governments have responded with measures to control, regulate, and censor the content of blogs, Web sites, and text messages.

These developments raise several fundamental questions: What are the primary threats to Internet freedom? Will the Internet bring freedom to oppressed people or will it strengthen the power of repressive regimes which control it? Are democratic societies immune from Internet repression or are threats to digital media freedom emerging there as well? Freedom House explored these questions in Freedom on the “Net, a 2009 survey that rated Internet freedom in 15 countries, spanning four continents and covering a range of national regulatory environments from free to highly repressive. According to the findings, threats to Internet freedom are growing and diversifying both in the array of countries that impose restrictions and in the range of methods employed.

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China’s unstable stability

Published on openDemocracy,03 Aug 2010 (http://www.opendemocracy.net

By Li Datong

Summary: 
The Beijing leadership’s obsession with order and control in face of citizens’ search for justice highlights the dysfunctional nature of China’s political system, says Li Datong.

China has since 1979 been developing at breakneck speed. During this thirty-year period, the growth in government revenues has far outstripped increases in everyday people’s incomes [1]. Moreover, political reform has never really made it out of the starting-blocks. This has left [2]China’s rigid and deeply traditional political system unable to manage an increasingly complicated set of social transformations (see “Beijing’s credibility crisis [3]”, 25 September 2009).

The nationwide political opposition in 1989 was a new experience for the authorities. With little idea of how to defuse the situation, they eventually [4] resorted to violence. Since then, China’s leaders have been gripped by an almost pathological fixation: maintaining stability. Deng Xiaoping [5], the architect of reform, rarely missed an opportunity to stress that “stability is everything” “stability comes first”, and that “without stability, we can achieve nothing”. The notion has evolved to become one of the highest administrative tenets at every level of government.

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China convicts Uighur web managers on state security charges

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Press release

 30 July 2010

AI Index: PRE01/263/2010

 Amnesty International has condemned the closed trial and conviction of three Uighur website managers on state security charges.

Dilshat Perhat, web manager and owner of the Diyarim website was sentenced to five years by an Urumqi court in a closed trial on 21 July; Nureli, web manager of Salkin was sentenced to three years; and Nijat Azat, web manager of Shabnam was sentenced to 10 years, according to Dilmurat Perhat, Dishat’s brother.

The three websites were among the most popular Uighur language news and community forums operating in Xinjiang prior to the 5 July 2009 riots.

”The Chinese governments’ attempts to control all online activity in Xinjiang is not going to silence those with genuine grievances,” said Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific Director for Amnesty International. “These three Uighur web managers must be released.”

Dilmurat was repeatedly warned by Xinjiang authorities against speaking to the media about his brother Dilshat’s case. He had earlier complied with their demands out of fear that his brother could be convicted.  “But today, I’m not worried because my brother has been sentenced already,” Dilmurat told Amnesty International from the United Kingdom.

“This government charge against my brother and the other Uighur websites was for endangering state security, but they didn’t do anything” said Dilmurat, who had worked with his brother Dilshat in managing the Diyarim website.

“My brother was supportive of the Chinese government always.  We ran the website from 2002 to 2009 – for seven years, we didn’t have any problems with the Chinese government.”

Dilmurat says that the secret nature of the Urumqi trials were a result of government fear of protest, because “the Chinese government has not any evidence to sentence these people.”

He suspects that web managers came under pressure from authorities due to articles that anonymous people posted on their websites prior to the 5 July, 2009 riots in Urumqi.  The riots led to 197 deaths according to official figures, and more than 1,400 detentions.

Amnesty International’s investigation of the riots suggests that the Chinese government used excessive force in dealing with the riots and in their aftermath, arbitrarily detained Uighurs, and mistreated detainees.  AI’s findings were published in June 2010 as ‘Justice, Justice’ – The July 2009 protests in Xinjiang, China.

From 3 July 2009, Dilmurat’s brother notified Chinese security officials five to six times to notify them that articles calling for a peaceful demonstration had been posted anonymously on the Diyaram website, and that he had deleted them.  A demonstration notice was posted again at 3:30 am on Sunday 5 July, on the Diyarim, Salkin and Shabnam websites, and the web managers were not able to remove them until later in the day.

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Uyghur American Association strongly condemns the sentencing of three Uyghur webmasters

 
 

For immediate release
July 29, 2010, 6:45 pm EST
Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 535 0037

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) strongly condemns the recent sentencing of three Uyghur webmasters, who were convicted on charges of “endangering state security”. According to the brother of one of the men, their trials are believed to have taken place on July 23 or July 24, around the same time as Uyghur webmaster Gheyret Niyaz was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “endangering state security” for speaking to foreign journalists.

“The Chinese government is suffocating Uyghur voices,” said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “Chinese authorities are committing an egregious violation of human rights and the freedom of expression by imprisoning these three men, who have done nothing more than work for websites and voice their opinions. Chinese legal guarantees regarding the freedom of speech and freedom of expression clearly mean nothing. Uyghurs in East Turkestan can only live in fear, when they are jailed for years merely for speaking out.”

Dilmurat Perhat, who lives in England, told UAA that his brother Dilshat Perhat, the 28-year-old webmaster and owner of the website Diyarim, was sentenced to five years in prison last week following a closed trial in a court in Urumchi, the regional capital of East Turkestan (also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). Dilmurat, who received the information from sources within East Turkestan, also told UAA that Nureli, the webmaster of the website Salkin, and Nijat Azat, the webmaster of the website Shabnam, were tried in closed trials on or around the same day and sentenced to three and ten years respectively.

Dilmurat, who was also a webmaster for Diyarim, said that Dilshat had repeatedly deleted postings that appeared on the message board of the website that advertised a peaceful demonstration planned for July 5, 2009 in Urumchi, and that Dilshat had called Chinese police multiple times to tell them about the postings. Dilshat reportedly told his brother that the police told him not to worry, as they knew about the plans for the demonstration that were being posted.

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