Sept 25, 2009
Amnesty International

Haji Memet and Abdusalam Nasir were detained on 23 September, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China, reportedly on suspicion of leaking “state secrets”. The “state secrets” are believed to be related to allegations of torture that led to the death of Shoret Tursun, Haji Memet’s relative. Both men are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Haji Memet is related to Shohret Tursun, who was detained on 6 July in Urumqi, capital of the XUAR. Shohret Tursun died in custody. On 19 September, the police in Lengger (Chinese: Langan) village in Korgas (Chinese: Huocheng) county, Ili (Chinese: Yili) prefecture gave Shohret Tursun’s body to his family, stating that he had suffered a fatal heart attack. According to the family, his chest was covered in bruises and his legs, stomach and back were scarred and cut.  Shohret Tursun’s family believes he died as a result of torture. They refused to bury the body immediately as requested by the police and called for an investigation. Radio Free Asia, quoting unnamed villagers, reported that the family home was surrounded on 19 September by eight truck loads of soldiers and two armed vehicles, who prevented villagers from visiting the family.

Soldiers forcibly entered the family’s home on 19 September and threatened to bury Shohret Torsun if the family did not do so themselves. The family then buried Shohret Tursun on Sunday 20 September. Abdusalam Nasir was involved in performing the burial rites. According to Radio Free Asia, Shohret Tursun’s father used Abdusalam Nasir mobile phone before the burial to call Radio Free Asia, which then published the allegations of torture on 19 September.

There has been a heavy police presence in the village since the burial of Shohret Tursun as the police have been investigating who is the source for Radio Free Asia, regarding information on Shohret Tursun’s case. They are said to still be searching for a third, unnamed person.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Mandarin, English or your own language;
Demand the authorities immediately and unconditionally release Haji Mamat and Abdusalam Nasir, unless they are charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence;
demand they are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated while they remain in custody;
call on the authorities to ensure they have access to their family and legal counsel of their choice;
urge the authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations that Shohret Tursun’s death in custody was as a result of torture, with a view of bringing those guilty to justice.

Chairman of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Regional People’s Government
Nur BEKRI Zhuxi
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu,2 Zhongshanlu, Wulumuqishi, 830041
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu
People’s Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Chairman
Chairman of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of the People’s Republic of China
YANG Jing Zhuren
Guojia Minzu Shiwu Weiyuanhui
252 Taipingqiaodajie, Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100800
People’s Republic of China
Salutation: Your Excellency

Director of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Regional Department of Public Security
LIU Yaohua Tingzhang
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Gong’anting
58 Huanghelu
Wulumuqishi 830001
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu
People’s Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Director

Send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


Two Uighur men at risk of torture

Additional Information

Shohret Tursun was one of some 40 people from Korgas who were detained around at the time of the July riots in Urumqi, the regional capital. According to his father, quoted by Radio Free Asia, he was transferred to Ili on 18 July and further on to Korgas on 23 July.

All over China, tight security measures are in place as the country prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949. These include checkpoints on all roads leading to Beijing and suspension of postal services for liquids. Many human rights activists are being silenced to ensure celebrations proceed according to the authorities plan and thousands of people have been detained in “strike hard” anti-crime campaigns. The authorities have again stopped issuing travel permits to foreigners to the Tibet Autonomous Region, and in the XUAR, the recent riots have only added to the heavy security.

Following the July unrest in the XUAR the authorities have detained thousands, reportedly brought dozens to trial, and threatened those involved in the unrest with harsh sentences. The authorities have interpreted all signs of dissent as stemming from “terrorist” or “separatist” activities, justifying their harsh crackdown while ignoring deep-rooted sources of the discontent. Authorities claim that the July unrest was orchestrated by organizations operating outside China including the World Uyghur Congress whose current president is Rebiya Kadeer, former prisoner of conscience. Eye-witness accounts received by Amnesty International contradict government accounts of the events of July, and suggest excessive use of force on the part of the authorities resulting in injury and deaths.

A recently concluded meeting of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee vowed to “effectively prevent and resolutely crack down on ethnicity-related separatist activities” and to institutionalize measures to combat corruption.

Over recent years the Chinese authorities have increasingly used vaguely-worded provisions in the Criminal Law to curtail freedom of expression. These include “disturbing public order” and “endangering state security”, which includes, among others, “subversion of state power”, “separatism” and “leaking state secrets”. The definition of “state secrets” is very broad and arbitrary, and can be retroactive and hence open to misuse: people charged with these crimes are often deprived of many rights, including access to legal counsel of their choosing, access to family and a public trial. Rebiya Kadeer, for example, was convicted on charges of “leaking state secrets”. The verdict of her trial describes the “secret information” as copies of the publicly available newspapers, Kashgar Daily, Xinjiang Legal News, Yili Daily and Yili Evening News, that she sent to her husband in the USA.

UA: 252/09 Index: ASA 17/053/2009 Issue Date: 24 September 2009

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