Mar 07, 2012

Inner Mongolia: Activist Remains Illegally Detained Despite Worsening Health Issues

As the health of prominent political prisoner Hada deteriorates, his family suffers increasing harassment by authorities.  

Below is an article published by Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center:

Southern (Inner) Mongolian prominent political prisoner Mr. Hada is suffering from poor health and maltreatment in a secret prison near Hohhot, regional capital of Southern Mongolia. Hada was arrested in 1995 and sentenced to a 15-year jail term on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage” for organizing the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA) and demanding the right to self-determination for the Southern Mongolians. Immediately following the end of his prison in December 2010, Hada was rearrested and remains under extrajudicial custody.

Recently the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) was able to interview Hada’s mother-in-law Ms. Hanshuulan, an 85 year old courageous Mongolian elder and outspoken critic of China’s ethnic policy toward Southern Mongolians. Hanshuulan revealed to SMHRIC that Hada has been suffering from severe leg pain caused by vasculitis.

“Hada’s son Uiles visited him once on the eve of Mongolian new year (January 22, 2012). But Uiles’ request for spending the new year day with his father was denied. Uiles told us that Hada’s leg pain has worsened recently due to serious vasculitis, causing him difficulty walking,” Ms. Hanshuulan told SMHRIC over the phone, “Uiles was told by the secret prison authorities that Hada has been reclassified as a common 'criminal' due to his refusal to cooperate with the authorities in admitting his ‘wrongdoing’.”

According to Hanshuulan, the prison conditions under which Hada is held have deteriorated recently. Privileges such as watching Chinese official TV channels and newspapers made available to him a few months ago have been recently prohibited. Uiles’ prison visit to Hada was the second visit of any family members and relatives since February 2011.

“Hada has consistently refused to admit that he committed any crime. He is still determined to sue the government and the Public Security authorities for illegally sentencing him to 15 years in jail and maltreating him and his family members,” Hanshuulan continued, “it is extremely outrageous that Hada is still not freed after completing his full prison term.”

Hada’s wife Ms. Xinna is still being held in the Inner Mongolia No.1 Detention Center in Hohhot without trial. She was taken away by police in early December 2010 and detained since then for selling Mongolian books and music albums in her Mongolian Studies Bookstore. Hanshuulan told SMHRIC that Xinna is still rejecting the authorities’ request that she sign a form document stating that she was engaged in “illegal business”.

“Xinna’s brother Khas managed to visit her once recently. She is still refusing to sign the paper to admit any wrongdoing. About selling Mongolian music CDs, Xinna said there is no such thing called ‘piracy of Mongolian CDs’ because there has never been any ‘authentic Mongolian CD’ published by the authorities anyway,” Hanshuulan revealed that the Public Security Bureau is promising to her that all allegations will be cleared and she will be freed immediately if she just signs the document. Xinna refuses to accept this deal.

Hada’s son Uiles continues to remain under house arrest since November 2011 after being detained for a year in Inner Mongolia No.3 Detention Center for alleged involvement of “drug possession”.

“Uiles’ residence is under tight surveillance. Two video cameras installed in his house by the Public Security authorities monitor him around the clock. During the Mongolian new year, he obtained approval to visit us in Bogot ("Bao Tou" in Chinese) City. But four Public Security personnel escorted him, and took him back to Hohhot after a few hours. He was able to see his father on the eve of the new year in the heavily guarded secret prison, but was not allowed to spend new years day with him,” Hanshuulan felt deeply sorry for her grandson who spent 15 lonely new years without his father.

According to Hanshuulan, Public Security personnel and government officials come to harass and threaten her family members frequently for answering phone calls from overseas.

“Once they yelled at Naraa [Xinna’s sister] and threatened to arrest her for answering phone calls from outside China. Now they are saying that Hada, Xinna and Uiles are not freed because we did not shut our mouths,” Hanshuulan laughed and continued, “but I told them that we have kept quiet for several months already, still they were not freed.”

“One thing is clear. Neither Hada, Xinna, Uiles, Naraa nor myself have committed any crime. Therefore, none of us believe what the authorities say. Rule of law is completely ignored here,” Hanshuulan added.