Urgent Action – Ilham Tohti (China)

20 July 2009

UA 194/09 – Incommunicado detention/Prisoner of conscience (PDF)

CHINA – Ilham Tohti (m)

Ilham Tohti, editor of the website Uighur Online and associate economics professor at Central Nationalities University in the Chinese capital, Beijing, has been held incommunicado by the authorities since 8 July. His whereabouts are unknown, and he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. He is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to peaceful freedom of expression.

At about 1am on 8 July, Ilham Tohti phoned a friend, saying that he had been told he would be detained and that he was afraid that he would never be able to speak to his friend again. Ilham Tohti told his friend that the authorities had accused him of instigating a riot between members of the Uighur ethnic group and the authorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwestern China on 5 July. The authorities have stated that around 190 people were killed in the course of the unrest. Ilham Tohti denied the authorities’ accusation, telling his friend that he would never agree with using violence. Ilham Tohti is believed to have been detained at the university by police a few hours after making this phone call. His lawyer and family have not been informed of his whereabouts.

Continue reading

AI urges China to investigate crackdown of protests in Xinjiang

Press release
6 July 2009

China: Fair and impartial investigation must be launched in Urumqi

Amnesty International today called on the authorities in Urumqi to immediately launch an independent and impartial investigation into reports that 140 people were killed when a protest turned violent late on Sunday.

“The Chinese authorities must fully account for all those who died and have been detained. Those who were detained solely for peacefully expressing their views and exercising their freedom of expression, association and assembly must be released immediately. A fair and thorough investigation must be launched resulting in fair trials that are in accordance with international standards without recourse to the death penalty”, said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director Asia-Pacific.

“There has been a tragic loss of life and it is essential that an urgent independent investigation takes place to bring all those responsible for the deaths to justice”, said Roseann Rife. “Violence and abuses from either the authorities or protestors is in no way justified.”

Continue reading

AI’s response to Uighur detainees transferred to Bermuda

Amnesty International
15 June 2009
AI Index: AMR 51/076/2009

USA: Human rights must transcend party politics

On 11 June 2009 four Uighur detainees held without charge or trial in the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba since 2002 were transferred to Bermuda. Their transfer came more than eight months after a US federal judge ruled their detention unlawful and ordered their immediate release into the USA. The USA accepted that the detainees could not be returned to China, their country of origin, because of the risk of torture and execution that they would face there, but failed to release them into the USA as even a temporary measure while it sought a third country solution.

Amnesty International welcomes Bermuda’s acceptance of these four men, as it brings an end to their unlawful detention and offers them the chance to begin to rebuild their lives. It calls on all parties with interest or influence over this situation not to jeopardize the human rights of these men or their ability to get on with their future, until now put on hold.

Continue reading

Palau’s offer to accept Guantánamo detainees would not excuse USA

10 June 2009

Guantánamo: Palau’s offer to accept detainees would not excuse USA

Reports that the government of Palau has offered to temporarily accept up to 17 Guantánamo detainees leave many questions unanswered and even if the offer is taken up it would not relieve the US authorities of their responsibility to the men, Amnesty International said today.

The President of Palau, Johnson Toribiong, said today that the Pacific island nation had agreed to accept on a temporary basis 17 Uighur men who have been held without charge or trial in Guantánamo since 2002 “as a humanitarian gesture”, subject to periodic review. In subsequent reports, an unidentified US official is quoted as saying that there has been “no final decision, no details arranged. We will continue talks with Palau.”

“Although Amnesty International has been calling on other countries to offer humanitarian protection to Guantánamo detainees, this announcement raises more questions than it answers and in no way absolves the US authorities of their responsibility towards these men,” Daniel Gorevan, of Amnesty International’s Counter Terror with Justice Campaign, said today.

Reports of Palau’s offer do not specify whether the men would face any further detention in Palau.

Continue reading

Update on Urgent Action – Huang Qi (China)

4 June 2009

Further Information on UA 172/08 (18 June 2008) – Incommunicado detention/fear of torture and other ill-treatment and new concern: medical concern

CHINA – Huang Qi (m), aged 46, human rights activist

During a 26 May visit by his lawyer, Sichuan human rights activist Huang Qi claimed that he had been questioned for long hours and sometimes deprived of sleep: he had once been interrogated continuously for three days without rest. Huang Qi said he had two tumors, diagnosed by the doctor in the detention center, on his stomach and chest that had developed since March. He also said that he was suffering from frequent headaches, an irregular heartbeat and insomnia. The authorities have turned down repeated requests by his family to release Huang Qi on bail to await trial. Amnesty International is concerned that Huang Qi may not be receiving adequate medical treatment.

Huang Qi is awaiting trial for “unlawfully holding documents classified as highly secret.” He was detained by plainclothes police on 10 June 2008. He had no access to lawyers or his family, on the grounds that the charges against him involved state secrets, and was only allowed a first meeting with a lawyer on 23 September after more than three months held incommunicado. On 3 February, the court forbade Huang Qi’s lawyer to make photocopies of the case documents assembled by the police in their investigation, to prepare his defense, again on the grounds that they contained state secrets. By law the court should have made a public announcement of Huang Qi’s trial three days before it began, but in fact it gave only one day’s notice to his family and lawyers, on 2 February. Later that day, after objections by Huang Qi’s lawyers, the court postponed his trial to a date that has not been announced.

Continue reading