Ahmet Memet and Turgan Abbas

In December 2001, two Uyghurs, Ahmet (Ahat) Memet (aged 21) and Turgan Abbas (aged 27), both Islamic students from Yerken county, Kashgar prefecture, went missing in Kazakhstan and are believed to have been forcibly returned to China.

They had fled from East Turkestan in August 1999 after their release from Yerken detention centre, Kashgar prefecture, where they had reportedly been detained and interrogated for one month on suspicion of engaging in “illegal religious” and “separatist” activities. They were reportedly arrested on their arrival in Kazakhstan and sentenced in April 2000 to eighteen months in prison for “illegally crossing the border.”

Following their release, they applied to UNHCR in Almaty for refugee status. Shortly afterwards, they moved to Charyn village, 250 km outside Almaty, after reportedly being harassed by the police. Unofficial sources report that they were taken away from their home in Charyn by uniformed officers, and that the two were being detained in Panfilov in December 2001.

In early 2004, it was reported that they were imprisoned in East Turkestan, but there are no further details about their exact whereabouts, legal status or state of health.


Amnesty International (AI) Report, People’s Republic of China: Uighurs fleeing persecution as China wages its “war on terror”, ASA 17/021/2004, 6 July 2004, available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/021/2004/en

Human Rights in China (HRIC) Report, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: The Impact of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, March 2011, available at: http://www.hrichina.org/research-and-publications/reports/sco; chapter on “Extraditions and Forcible Returns to China” available at: http://www.hrichina.org/content/5237#china


[Last Updated: December 2011]