Immediately release:• Ilham Tohti• Abduweli Ayup• Ablikim Abdureyim• Abdukiram Abduweli• Akbar Imin• Gulmire Imin• Nurmuhammet Yasin• Alimjan Yimit
This petition had 508 supporters
Uyghurs in East Turkestan (also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) are routinely imprisoned for political reasons.
Gulmire Imin and Ilham Tohti were jailed for exercising their freedom of speech. Professor Tohti was particularly outspoken on a number of economic, social and cultural issues facing the Uyghurs through his Uighurbiz website. The detention of HIV/AIDS activist, Akbar Imin is a further example of the limited space the Uyghurs have to raise social problems with the state.
The case of Uyghur author, Nurmuhammet Yasin shows the tight constraints placed on artistic freedom. The jailing of Abdukiram Abduweli and Alimjan Yimit are demonstrative of the curbs place on religious rights in East Turkestan. The Chinese authorities suppress a second key marker of Uyghur identity, language, to the extent that when linguist, Abduweli Ayup asserted his linguistic rights by establishing a Uyghur kindergarten, he was jailed for 18 months.
The case of Ablikim Abdureyim is illustrative of the Chinese government’s punishment of family members of outspoken Uyghurs. Ablikim was sentenced to nine years in prison after his mother, Uyghur democracy leader, Rebiya Kadeer was elected president of the Uyghur American Association and the World Uyghur Congress. His treatment in prison displays the endemic nature of torture facing Uyghur prisoners.
*** 12/15/2014 The petition has been updated to reflect reports that Abduweli Ayup has been released after appealing the sentence.
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