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Niyaz Kahar

Niyaz Kahar

Sentenced in 2010

Kahar, a reporter and blogger, disappeared during ethnic rioting in Urumqi in July 2009. His family announced in February 2014 that he had been convicted of separatism and was being held in Shikho prison outside Shikho city in the far north of Xinjiang, according to the Uighur service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia.

Kahar worked as a local reporter before launching the Uighur-language website Golden Tarim, which featured articles on Uighur history, culture, politics, and social life.

With the unrest surrounding the riots, it is difficult to determine the exact date of his arrest or where he was initially held. His family had questioned police and government authorities after his disappearance, but received no information, and assumed he had been killed until they were informed of his conviction in 2010, Radio Free Asia reported.

The family was told that Kahar was sentenced to 13 years in prison during a closed court session in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, though they did not know the date of the trial. Kahar’s sister Nurgul told Radio Free Asia that during their search for Kahar, the family was told by court officials in Urumqi that he “published illegal news and propagated ideas of ethnic separatism on his website. He was charged with the crime of splitting the nation.”

According to a September 2015 report by Radio Free Asia, Kahar’s health is failing. His family is allowed only a 15-minute visit with the journalist every four months. “He is losing his courage year by year,” Radio Free Asia cited his mother as saying.


CPJ 2015 prison census: 199 journalists jailed worldwide, Available at:

Congressional-Executive Committee on China: Political Prisoner Database (PPD), Available at:

Uyghur American Association: Mission Uyghur Journalist found Jailed on ”Separatism” Charges, Available at:

[Last updated: October 2019]