Sentenced in March 2006 to 8 years in prison
On 6 March 2006, the Hotan Municipal Court sentenced Mamatali Ahat to eight years in prison after he raised the flag of East Turkestan at the statue of Mao Zedong shaking hands with a Uyghur farmer in Hotan’s Unity Square.
The court accused Ahat of having stolen guns and explosives with the intent of blowing up the statue. The statue of Mao and Uyghur farmer Kurban Tulum has been held up by the Chinese government as symbolic of what it portrays as the beneficial policies enjoyed by Uyghurs under Chinese Communist Party rule. However, Uyghurs widely view the statue as a symbol of the way in which the oppression they suffer in their daily lives differs from official propaganda.
Further details on the case are unknown.
Uyghur American Association (UAA) Press Release, Two Uyghurs Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Terms for Peaceful Political Expression, 16 March 2009, available at: www.uyghuramerican.org/articles/2651/1/Two-Uyghurs-in-Hotan-sentenced-to-lengthy-prison-terms-for-peaceful-political-expression/index.html
[Last updated: August 2011]