Archive for July 21, 2012


2011-09-07

Chinese officials may have falsified evidence to repatriate a Uyghur from Thailand.

Chinese authorities made a false claim to convince the Thai government to extradite a Uyghur last month for his alleged involvement in ethnic riots, according to a Uyghur exile group.

Nur Muhemmed was arrested by local police on Aug. 6 for illegally entering Thailand and was handed over to Chinese authorities in the capital Bangkok, making him one of the most recent of a number of Uyghurs who have been repatriated following pressure from Chinese authorities.

Reports by Japanese media suggest that Muhemmed may have fled Urumqi after Chinese authorities accused him of participating in ethnic unrest in the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in July 2009. At least 200 people were killed in the riots.

The Chinese Embassy in Bangkok also told Thai Immigration Bureau officials that Muhemmed was part of a Uyghur “terrorist” network responsible for bomb attacks and riots in Xinjiang.

But according to new evidence provided by Ilshat Hasan, vice-president of the Washington-based Uyghur American Association (UAA), Muhemmed had already been living in Thailand for nearly nine years as an illegal immigrant after moving to the country to escape religious persecution in China.

“As an illegal immigrant with no travel documents, and as a father of two children he had after marrying a local woman, Muhemmed had never left Thailand until his deportation,” Hasan told RFA.

Hasan said that Muhemmed moved to Thailand at the end of 2002, living in Chiangmai, in northern Thailand, for several months before relocating to the capital to apply for political asylum with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

While in the process of applying for asylum, Hasan said, Muhemmed met a Thai woman named Fatima whom he married in 2004. The couple had a daughter, named Sekine, in 2005.

“His application for asylum was denied by the UNHCR in 2006, and after the decision the family moved back to Chiangmai, where Muhemmed struggled to support his family,” Hasan said.

“When the July 5 [Urumqi] incident occurred, he was watching the events unfold on a television at the restaurant where he was working as a dishwasher.”

Escape from persecution

Hasan said that Muhemmed had left Urumqi for Thailand years earlier after a religious class he attended in his neighborhood was broken up by police who accused attendees of holding an illegal gathering.

Not long after the class was targeted, state security forces began to monitor Muhemmed and the other students, prompting him to leave the country without a passport.

“As an illegal immigrant, Muhammed always had difficulty finding a job. Most of the time, his family had to rely solely on Fatima’s business hawking goods on the street,” Hasan said.

In January this year, the family moved back to Bangkok after Muhemmed heard that he could obtain a Thai passport through the black market.
In March, the couple had a second daughter.

“When he was accused of being a terrorist and sent back to China, his daughter Sekine was five years old and his daughter Sayida was only three months old,” Hasan said.

At the time, Dolkun Isa, general secretary of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC), had called on Thailand to ignore pressure from the Chinese to repatriate Muhemmed, where Isa said he could face torture and even death upon his return.

“It is no secret how dangerous the current situation in East Turkestan [Xinjiang] is after the Hotan and Kashgar incidents,” Isa said, referring to deadly attacks in the two Silk Road cities by Uyghur groups against Chinese security personnel in July.

“It is easy to imagine what the fate of a Uyghur refugee might be in the case of a deportation at this time,” he said.

Chinese alerted

According to a Uyghur friend in Thailand who asked to remain anonymous, Muhemmed rarely called his parents unless there was an urgent need.

Several months ago, he said, Muhemmed had received information that his father was sick and had begun calling his family regularly.

“The telephone calls likely aroused the suspicion of the Chinese intelligence service and they decided to arrest him,” the friend said.

“This is the only reason I can imagine why he would have been targeted by China.”

Another Uyghur, a student in a Southeast Asian country, said that Muhemmed’s long disappearance would have alerted the attention of Chinese authorities.

“Disappearing for nine years without official knowledge—of course that would create a big question mark in the minds of China’s state security officials,” the Uyghur student said.

“For Uyghurs these days, everything is a crime, including disappearing, speaking your mind, or even thinking something deeply. This shows how tense relations have become between the Uyghur people and the Chinese state.”

Regional influence

China has used its economic influence in the region to detain and repatriate a number of Uyghurs authorities said were wanted in connection with deadly rioting that gripped the Xinjiang capital Urumqi in 2009, although they did not publicly provide any evidence of their involvement.

In the months that followed the violence in Urumqi, hundreds of Uyghurs were detained and at least nine were executed.

Aside from Thailand, Malaysian authorities in mid-August turned over 11 Uyghurs to Chinese authorities they had accused of involvement in a human trafficking ring, drawing criticism from two senior U.S. lawmakers.

Pakistan deported five Uyghurs to China weeks before the Malaysian extradition. The country had previously deported “Xinjiang separatists” to China on at least three occasions.

Cambodia deported the majority of 22 Uyghurs who sought refuge status there through the UNHCR shortly after they fled China in the aftermath of the 2009 ethnic violence in Urumqi.

In recent years, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos have all repatriated the Muslim Uyghurs, allegedly following pressure from Chinese authorities.

Many of Xinjiang’s estimated 8 million Uyghurs chafe at the strict controls on their religion and culture that China enforces and resent influxes of Han Chinese migrant workers and businesses.

Uyghurs say they have long suffered ethnic discrimination, oppressive religious controls, and continued poverty and joblessness despite China’s ambitious plans to develop its vast northwestern frontier.

Source: Radio Free Asia.
Link: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/claim-09072011163035.html.

2011-09-14

Courts in Xinjiang sentence four Uyghurs to die for their alleged role in bloody attacks.

China has sentenced four ethnic Uyghurs to death in connection with a series of July attacks in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region which left dozens of people dead, state media reported Thursday, drawing condemnation from overseas groups.

Abdugheni Yusup, Ablikim Hasan, Muhtar Hasan, and Memetniyaz Tursun were handed the death sentence while two other men—Abdulla Eli and Pulat Memet—were sentenced to 19 years in prison and a five-year suspension of their political rights for their part in the attacks, according to tianshannet.com, a state-run website.

The mainly Muslim Uyghur minority has long chafed against Chinese rule in Xinjiang, and authorities have accused “terrorists” of operating in the region.

Tianshannet said that the defendants were convicted of “forming and participating in a terrorist organization, the illegal manufacture of explosives, premeditated homicide, arson, and several other related crimes” over an attack on a police station in Hotan and two separate attacks in Kashgar.

The verdicts were handed down Wednesday by intermediate courts in the two Silk Road cities, the report said.

It said the Hotan court convicted Abdugheni Yusup of leading a group of men carrying axes, machetes, and Molotov cocktails in a July 18 attack on the Nawagh Police Station in the city.

During the attack, the report said, the group killed one member of a security team, injured two bystanders, and took two hostages. The group also set fire to the police station and surrounding commercial property, it said.

When confronted by police, the report said, the group killed one armed police officer and injured a SWAT officer and another security team member.

Tianshannet said the Kashgar court convicted Ablikim Hasan of carrying out a July 30 attack on the Kashgar Fragrant Food Street, an alley of Chinese-owned restaurants, along with Urayim Memet, a Uyghur who was later killed by police.

During the attack, the report said, the two men killed a truck driver and rammed his vehicle into a group of bystanders. They then attacked onlookers with knives, it said, leaving a total of eight people dead and 31 injured.

The court also sentenced Muhtar Hasan who, along with four others, Tianshannet said, detonated an explosion in a vehicle and slashed bystanders with knives at another location in Kashgar, killing five people and injuring 13, including three police officers.

Memetniyaz Tursun was sentenced for training the perpetrators of the Kashgar attacks, the report said.

Sentence condemned

Rebiya Kadeer, president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, strongly denounced the sentencing in statement Wednesday.

“Any country in which the court and press are not free makes it impossible to expect a fair and just verdict.”

She called the court decision, which was handed down barely two months after the events took place, “motivated by hatred and politics,” accusing the government of “trying to comfort some people in Chinese society with Fascist ideas” and “encouraging Chinese migrants” to Xinjiang.

Kadeer said that the Chinese government’s policy of harshly punishing or crushing dissent has been used for decades without success, and that by handing down the sentence, authorities were only increasing tensions in the region.

“[The authorities] talked about how the incident was carried out, but they never talked about why they happened and never investigated the cause of the events, which was ethnic discontent,” she said.

“What should be investigated are the unjust policies and who should have been brought to justice were the people who wrote these policies and carry them out … Instead, they became the judges of the people.”

Kadeer said that the Chinese government should be working to create “peaceful and equal living conditions” among China’s ethnic nationalities.

“This should be achieved not through the power of guns, but through the power of civilization and justice.”

Many of Xinjiang’s estimated 8 million Uyghurs complain of strict controls on their religion and culture that China enforces and resent influxes of Han Chinese migrant workers and businesses.

Uyghurs say they have long suffered ethnic discrimination, oppressive religious controls, and continued poverty and joblessness despite China’s ambitious plans to develop its vast northwestern frontier.

Source: Radio Free Asia.
Link: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/death-09142011181933.html.

Thu Sep 15, 2011

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of King Abdullah, has landed in hot waters as a Spanish court reopens a three-year-old rape case against him.

The court started a probe into allegations that the Saudi multibillionaire raped a model on a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea in August 2008, according to a ruling seen by AFP Wednesday.

The case concerns Prince Talal, who is being asked to respond to a complaint of sexual assault against him by a model who was 20 at the time.

The prince denied the allegations and said he only heard of them on Tuesday.

A May 24 ruling by a court in the Balearic Islands said the complainant, who was not named, believed a drug was added to her drink in a nightclub on the island after she met the Saudi prince.

A judge in the Balearic island of Ibiza in May 2010 had ordered the case closed for lack of evidence, but the provincial court of the Balearic Islands overturned that ruling on May 24 and a court in Ibiza on July 27 reopened the proceedings to formally request assistance from the Saudi authorities to take a statement from the accused.

The 56-year-old prince has holdings in Citibank and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Forbes magazine lists him as the 26th richest person in the world with assets of $19.6 billion.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/199217.html.

Wed Sep 14, 2011

Saudi Arabia has reportedly dispatched a convoy of armored vehicles and military assistance to Yemen to help Sana’a crack down on the popular revolution.

Sources affiliated with the Yemeni opposition were cited by the independent pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi as saying, “A motorcade of Saudi armored vehicles and military aid entered the Yemeni soil to help the forces of the regime of [Yemen’s] Ali Abdullah Saleh,” Mehr News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The sources said it was the second time Riyadh was sending such vehicles to Yemen since the start of the revolution, which has been demanding an end to corruption and unemployment as well as Saleh’s ouster.

Riyadh has a history of aiding Sana’a in carrying out a deadly suppressive campaign against Yemen’s north-based Shia population, known as the Houthis.

In March, the kingdom deployed forces to Bahrain to abet the Bahraini regime’s crackdown against a similar anti-government popular uprising.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/199172.html.

Wed Sep 14, 2011

More than a dozen Bahraini nurses and doctors have entered the second week of their hunger strike as the anti-regime protesters await trial in a martial court, a report says.

Irish-trained surgeons Ali al-Ekri and Bassin Dahif along with 11 other doctors, nurses and paramedics are on a hunger strike in a Bahraini prison, Prof. Damian McCormack, who heads an Irish delegation of doctors and human rights activists to Bahrain, wrote in a letter to the Irish Times.

Among the detained protesters, one is diabetic and seven have already collapsed and are in need of intravenous fluids while one has attempted suicide and been prescribed anti-psychotic medication; they all refuse to take their medication, according to the document.

McCormack, who is affiliated with the World College of Surgeons and the World College of Physicians, also referred to a chronic compartment syndrome in another detained surgeon, who is at risk of “deep clots and embolism.”

“All continue to suffer from the physical and psychological effects of prolonged detention and torture,” he stated, adding that one consultant ophthalmologist recently released had suffered a stroke in detention.

The Dublin-based pediatrician recalls a royal decree issued by Bahrain’s embattled King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in late June, which orders all protester cases referred to civilian courts.

“However, international human rights organizations are shocked to learn that the trial of the 20 medics who are accused with felonies will continue in a military court,’” the letter reads.

It further censured the continued brutal suppression of peaceful protests in Bahrain and the August 31 killing of teenage boy, struck by a tear gas canister at close range, on Eid al-Fitr.

McCormack accused the Bahraini regime of employing international lobbyists such as Jo Trippi and PR companies such as Qorvis in Washington and Bell Pottinger in London to conceal its continued violations of human rights.

He noted how Lualua TV, a Bahraini pro- democracy station based in London, is actively jammed from Bahrain via a European satellite and all internal electronic communications in Bahrain are monitored by “spy gear” provided by western companies such as Nokia Siemens.

“Over 1,400 protesters have been detained, 180 civilians have been sentenced in military courts, 32 people have been killed, over 60 journalists have been targeted or ejected and at least 22 opposition websites are censored in a country which would call itself civilized and peaceful,” McCormack went on to say.

The doctor further called on the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to seek return of the honorary fellowship they awarded to King Hamad in 2006.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/199195.html.