Aug 15, 2006

East Turkestan: Whereabouts of Rafto Laureate's Son Unknown After Arrest and Beating

On 29 May, Rebiya Kadeer's sons Ablikim, Abdureyim and Alim were arrested and beaten by Chinese police. Today, her daughter Rushangul is in house arrest, and the sons are in prison. The Chinese authorities claim that her children are guilty of tax-fraud and embezzlement. It is believed that the Chinese are trying to frame Kadeer's children, in order to punish her for speaking up for her people the Uyghurs
Below is a press release by the Rafto Foundation expressing its deep concern about the situation of Rafto Laureate Rebiya Kadeer's children

On May 29th Rebiya Kadeer's son Ablikim Abdureyim was arrested and beaten by Chinese police together with his brother Alim. In the two months that have passed, police have refused to give any information about Ablikim's whereabouts and condition, and Mrs Kadeer`s family is now extremely worried about what might have happened to him.

- The last time we heard about him, was when he ended up in hospital due to the beating, says Akida Rouzi in an e-mail to the Rafto Foundation.

Ms. Rouzi is one of Kadeer's children living in the US, and the beating she is referring to took place during the arrest: Ablikim was taken away together with his brother Alim and his sister Rushangul to a camp-site outside Urumqi, the capital of the so-called Xinjiang region in North-western China. Here the two brothers were severely beaten by police-officers. Ablikim lost consciousness, and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Today, the situation for Kadeer's children in China is as follows: Her daughter Rushangul is in house arrest, and the sons Kahar, Alim and Ablikim are in prison.

- We know where Kahar and Alim are being held. My sister has tried over and over again to get some information from the police about Ablikim, but she failed each time. They will not tell anyone where he is or how he is, states Akida Rouzi.

Ablikim is said to be facing charges of subversion.

Kadeer's children and business within China have been harassed by the authorities for a long time. They claim that her children are guilty of tax-fraud and embezzlement, and the police has raided company-offices and confiscated documents and money. It is believed that the Chinese are trying to frame Kadeer's children, in order to punish her for speaking up for her people. Upon her release, she received a clear warning- if she engaged in activities related to Uyghur matters, her children in China would be finished.

- The Chinese government is acting shamelessly. They know my children are innocent. My children never committed tax fraud. They have never been involved in politics, they owe nothing to anyone, and they are well-mannered in their business and trade with other people, Rebiya Kadeer said in a statement following the arrests.

Akida Rouzi emphasizes how serious it is that no information has come out about Ablikim.
- We are very worried, something might be terribly wrong.

The Rafto Foundation has urged the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs to put pressure on the Chinese government to: immediately release from police custody Ablikim Abdureyim (male, aged 32), Alim Abdiriyim (male, aged 30), and Kahar Abdureyim (male, aged 42), three of the adult children of famous Uyghur businesswoman, human rights activist, and former prisoner of conscience and Rafto Prize laureate, Rebiya Kadeer; as well as to immediately release from house arrest Rebiya Kadeer's daughter, Rushangul Abdiriyim (female, aged 36) and other members of Rebiya Kadeer's family.

- I am very concerned that these individuals may be subjected to further torture and ill treatment. The detention of these adults and children, the torture of brothers Ablikim Abdureyim and Alim Abdureyim, and the baseless charging of Ablikim, Alim, and Kahar Abdureyim are a continuation of the Chinese government's severe harassment of Rebiya Kadeer's family members, says Arne Liljedahl Lynngård, Chairman of the Board of the Rafto Foundation, in a comment.