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Issue 17: Detentions on Religious Charges: Merdan Seyitakhun

Issue 17: Detentions on Religious Charges: Merdan Seyitakhun

World Uyghur Congress, 1 June 2018

Merdan Seyitakhun was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Ili Intermediate Court on 14 April 2008 after being charged with ‘acts of separatism’. He, along with 11 other Uyghur men were from Ghulja and Nelke counties were arrested by Chinese authorities between March and June 2008 for teaching Islam to children and engaging in ‘illegal religious activities’.

Seyitakhun’s father expressed his deep disappointment with his son’s sentence, saying, “We’re not satisfied with this verdict … and we are all so surprised. They should be punished like this for teaching religion?” He continued, “They weren’t establishing an anti-government organization or using weapons to engage in terrorist acts or blow up buildings—they were teaching morality and religion to youths who had been on the street and teaching them to do good deeds.”

The Ili Intermediate People’s Court handed down sentences ranging from three to 15 years imprisonment based on their roles as instigators, organizers, or followers of “splitting the state” under Article 103 of the Criminal Law. The men are: Ahmetjan Emet (15 years), Seydehmet Awut (10 years), Erkin Emet (10 years), Abdujilil Abdughupur (6 years), Abdulitip Ablimit (6 years), Mewlanjan Ahmet (10 years), Kurbanjan Semet (10 years), Dolkun Erkin (10 years), Omerjan Memet (10 years), Mutelip Rozi (6 years), and Ubulkasim (3 years).