Nov 28, 2006

East Turkestan: Persecution of Family of World Uyghur Congress President

Rebiya Kadeer (pictured with UNPO General Secretary Mr. Busdachin), a prominent Uyghur activist, continues to receive news of persecution of her family members. On 27 November her youngest son was sentenced to seven years in prison, whilst another of Ms. Kadeer’s sons in detention, was allegedly seen being carried out of Tianshan District Detention Center in need of medical attention.

Rebiya Kadeer (pictured left with UNPO General Secretary Mr. Busdachin) has recently been elected President of the World Uyghur Congress. Below is an article published by the Uyghur Human Rights Project on the fate of her sons under Chinese repression:

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) has learned that Alim Abdureyim, the youngest son of Uyghur human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience Rebiya Kadeer, was sentenced on Monday November 27 to seven years in prison on charges of tax evasion, and fined RMB 500,000 (USD 62,500). The court also found Alim’s brother, Kahar Abdureyim, guilty of tax evasion and fined him RMB 100,000 (USD 12,500), although Kahar was not sentenced to prison. It is not yet known whether the brothers intend to appeal against the sentence or the fines.

Another of Ms. Kadeer’s sons in detention, Ablikim Abdureyim, was seen by sources close to UHRP being carried out of Tianshan District Detention Center on a stretcher on November 26, apparently in need of medical attention. The reasons for his condition were not immediately clear, although it is feared Ablikim may have been beaten or tortured as a consequence of his mother, Ms. Kadeer, being elected to the position of president of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) on November 26.

Ms. Kadeer learned from sources in Urumchi that the Chinese authorities were willing to be lenient with her sons if she did not run for the presidency of the WUC.

Ablikim is still awaiting trial on charges of ‘subversion’, although the details of the allegations against him are not publicly known.

“My sons are completely innocent of all charges against them,” said Ms. Kadeer, who is also president of the Washington, DC-based Uyghur American Association. “The announcement of the sentence – and the treatment of Ablikim in detention – is obviously linked to my election as president of the WUC. The timing is more than cynical and less than human, and it shows the world yet again what the Chinese government and Communist Party does to its opponents and how little it cares for international opinion,” said Ms. Kadeer.

Alim and Kahar Abdureyim were both put on trial on October 27, 2006. The court announced at the time it would pass sentence within 10 days of the trial but it appears sentencing was postponed most probably to coincide with the World Uyghur Congress, held in Munich from 24 – 27 November.

In a related development, Rushangul Abdureyim, sister of Alim and Kahar Abdureyim was released from a form of house soon after the trial, and informed she was no longer under suspicion of involvement in the charges against her brothers. Under the conditions of the house arrest imposed on June 14, Ms. Abdureyim was not allowed to leave her home, and there were at least seven police officers stationed in her house at all times.

Alim and Kahar Abdureyim’s Trial

UHRP’s sources said there was a significant police presence outside Tianshan District court on October 27 to stop all but an allotted two family members and two employees of the family businesses from attending the trial, with the remaining space in the court room taken up by government and party officials.

Both Alim and Kahar Abdureyim appeared to be in good health at the trial, according to sources, and both were seen to have legal representation although sources claim that the lawyers did not challenge or question the prosecution’s evidence or witnesses. UHRP reported in June 2006 that Alim Abdureyim had confessed under torture to the charges against him. 

Alim and Kahar Abdureyim were charged with a total of 46 counts of tax evasion at the trial, which lasted four hours. A brief report of the trial carried by China’s official news agency, Xinhua, claimed that the charges against Alim were the result of evading taxes totaling RMB 208,430 (USD 26,054) between 2002 and 2004; Kahar was convicted of evading a far greater sum in taxes – “almost RMB 2.5 million” (USD 312,500) between 2000 and 2004 – according to the official report.

However, having been designated as legal representative for Ms. Kadeer’s former business concerns, Alim Abdureyim was therefore apparently liable for the RMB 7.44 million (USD 931,000) in taxes allegedly owed by Ms. Kadeer’s businesses from 1993 – 2000 (when his mother was still legally in charge of the business), and therefore subject to a prison sentence as well as an additional fine of RMB 15.1 million (USD 1.9 million).


“I was warned by Chinese officials not to talk about the Uyghur people’s human rights when I was exiled to the US or, they said, my family and my business would be ‘finished’,” said Ms. Kadeer. “This treatment of my sons is the Chinese government acting on their vendetta against me, and by extension, their vendetta against any Uyghur who would dare to stand up to them and dare to tell the truth.”

In May 2005, soon after Ms. Kadeer arrived in the US following her release from prison, police raided her offices and reportedly removed every single piece of paper from the premises, most notably the businesses’ financial records. These documents almost certainly formed the basis of the Chinese authorities’ evidence against Alim and Kahar Abdureyim. It is not known whether the brothers’ lawyers had access to those documents when preparing a legal defense, as they are entitled under China’s criminal legislation.

In August 2005, Radio Free Asia reported the establishment of a “Rebiya Kadeer investigation office” by the regional police in East Turkistan, the sole function of which was to investigate Ms. Kadeer’s family and business interests. Although only released from six years in prison in March 2005, by August 2005 when the special police unit was established, Ms. Kadeer had already spoken several times at various high profile events in the US on the plight of the Uyghur people under China’s rule.

Then in September 2005, again according to Radio Free Asia, Alim Abdureyim was detained by police and told to sign a statement claiming Rebiya Kadeer was guilty of tax evasion, or he would “sign it in prison after we’ve broken each one of your ribs”.


— On May 11, 2005, police detained two employees of the Kadeer Trade Center. Ruzi Mamat, 25, and Aysham Kerim, 34, worked at Rebiya Kadeer’s firm as company secretary and company director, respectively. Both Mamat and Karim were reportedly held at the Fifth Branch of the Public Security Bureau in Urumchi. 

— On May 13, 2005, police brought both employees back to the Kadeer Trading Center as they raided the company’s offices. Police took Mamat and Kerim away again after the raid. During the raid, police tried to arrest Ms. Kadeer’s son, Ablikim Abdureyim, but he managed to evade arrest.

— On August 30, 2005, Radio Free Asia reported that police in Urumchi had formed a special unit to investigate the relatives and business interests of Rebiya Kadeer, citing her son Alim Abdureyim and a local police officer. Alim, who was the managing director of his family’s Akida Trading Co., told RFA’s Uyghur service that police in the mostly Uyghur Nanguan area of Urumchi had formed a unit known as “the number 307 office, [or] the Rebiya Kadeer investigation office.” Alim stated that police from Unit 307 required members of the Kadeer family to give them advance notice if they wished to leave Urumchi.

— On the evening of May 29, 2006, five police officers from the Nanguan Police Station detained Alim, Ablikim and Rushangul Abdureyim (two sons and a daughter, respectively, of Rebiya Kadeer). They were first brought to the police station to be detained there, and were later allowed to go home and were put under house arrest.

— On June 1, police took Alim, Ablikim and Rushangul, along with their children, by vehicle to a point halfway between Urumchi and the Nanshan Mountains. At this location, police officers dragged Alim and Ablikim out of the vehicle they were in and beat them severely. At this time, one police officer present forced Rushangul to inform her mother of the beating. Following the beating, Alim was taken to a detention center and Ablikim was reportedly taken to a hospital.    

— On June 13, the Chinese authorities officially charged Kahar Abdureyim, Ms. Kadeer’s eldest son, with alleged tax evasion, Ablikim with alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government, and Alim with alleged tax evasion and attempting to split the state. Also on June 13, police detained Kahar at his home in Aksu (200 miles southeast of Urumchi) and brought him to Urumchi by chaining him to the floor of a minibus.

— On June 14, police read the arrest warrants of Kahar Abdureyim, Alim Abdureyim and Ablikim Abdureyim to Rushangul Abdureyim, and told her that they were arrested by the orders of the Fifth Branch of the Public Security Bureau in Urumchi. Rushangul was then placed under house arrest under the watch of nine policemen.

After their arrest, the Fifth Branch of the Public Security Bureau in Urumchi turned Kahar, Alim and Ablikim over to the Urumchi Municipal Public Security Office and the Tianshan District Procuratorate Office for interrogation and the filing of charges.

— On June 23, UHRP learned that Alim Abdureyim had been tortured in detention.

— On July 6, Alim was reported to have ‘confessed’ on or around July 1 to the criminal and political charges against him as a direct consequence of being tortured. He is understood to have signed confessions to the charges against him of tax evasion and “attempting to split the state”.

— On July 10, Kahar and Alim were arraigned on criminal charges.

— On July 14, the Tianshan District Procuratorate Office formally issued an indictment charging both Kahar and Alim with tax evasion and Ablikim with subversion. At this time, UHRP was aware that Ablikim was still being interrogated in detention, indicating his case was not yet ready to be submitted by police to state prosecution offices.

— On October 27, Kahar and Alim were tried at Tianshan District court in Urumchi, with the court stating sentence would be announced within 10 days. 

— On November 27, the court announced a seven year prison sentence and a fine of RMB 500,000 (USD 62,500) against Alim Abdureyim; and a fine of RMB 100,000 (USD 12,500) against Kahar Abdureyim. On the same day, UHRP’s sources reported that Ablikim Abdureyim, who is in detention awaiting trial on charges of ‘subversion’, was seen being taken from the Tianshan District detention center on a stretcher, apparently in need of medical attention.