Hasty executions in China highlight unfair Xinjiang trials

10 November 2009

China: Hasty executions highlight unfair Xinjiang trials

Chinese authorities must ensure all individuals charged with offences during July riots in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) receive a fair trail and do not face the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

The China Daily reported today that authorities prosecuted another 20 suspects on Monday, 9 November for offences ranging from murder, arson and robbery linked to the riots.

The trial follows the execution of eight Uighurs and one Han Chinese individual, announced by authorities yesterday. The announcement did not say when the nine were executed but reported that it was after the Supreme People’s Court reviewed and approved the sentences.

“In hastily executing these individuals after unfair trials, the Chinese authorities are perpetuating some of the very injustices that helped trigger the outburst of violence in the first place,” said Roseann Rife, deputy director of the Asia-Pacific program.

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Update on Urgent Action – Ilham Tohti (China)

28 August 2009

Further Information on UA 194/09 (20 July 2009) – Incommunicado detention/Fear of torture

CHINA – Ilham Tohti (m)

Ilham Tohti, editor of the website “Uighur Online” and associate economics professor at Central Nationalities University, was released on 23 August 2009 in Beijing, China’s capital. However, he remains under surveillance.

Ilham Tohti was taken from his home on 8 July, shortly after the authorities said that articles posted on his website had fuelled the violence in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwestern China. Ilham Tohti has denied the accusation saying that he would never agree with using violence.

His detention was arbitrary and illegal. In an interview with Radio Free Asia upon his release, Ilham Tohti said that he was not charged with any crime. His lawyer has not received any legal documentation on his detention, and he was not held in an official place of detention. It appears that his detention was a move to prevent him from communicating with journalists and through his website and blog.

In the same interview with Radio Free Asia, Ilham Tohti also said that he was not tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention, but that the police questioned him “day and night.” Upon release, the police told him not to criticize the government or he would face formal charges and punishment.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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