Rivolte Xinjiang: I sei uiguri condannati a morte

A seguito dell’improvviso processo del 12 ottobre, la Corte popolare intermedia di Urumchi, ha condannato a morte gli imputati uiguri Abdukerim Abduwayit, Gheni Yusup, Abdulla Mettohti, Adil Rozi, Nureli Wuxiu’er (Hoshur) e Alim Metyusup in base alle accuse di assassinio e altri crimini che loro avrebbero presumibilmente commesso durante le rivolte del 5 luglio 2009 in Urumchi, capitale dell’Est Turkestan.

Segue il comunicato dell’Associazione americana uiguri

Following an unannounced trial on October 12, the Intermediate People’s Court of Urumchi sentenced Uyghur defendants Abdukerim Abduwayit, Gheni Yusup, Abdulla Mettohti, Adil Rozi, Nureli Wuxiu’er (Hoshur) and Alim Metyusup to death on charges of murder and other crimes they were alleged to have committed during July 5 unrest in Urumchi, the regional capital of East Turkestan. A seventh man, Tayirejan Abulimit, was sentenced to life in prison on charges of murder and robbery. The Uyghur American Association (UAA) strongly protests the verdicts handed down to these men, out of concern that the men faced highly politicized trials that did not adhere to standards of either domestic or international law. UAA calls upon the international community to express concern over the verdicts, in light of a demonstrated lack of transparency for accused Uyghurs in China’s judicial system and a dearth of official clarity regarding suspects, charges and evidence related to the unrest in Urumchi.

“Chinese authorities are using these death sentences to send a political message representing brute force, fear and intimidation,” stated Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “The trial of these six men occurred in an extremely charged political environment, and the men were not afforded due process as required by Chinese law. The Chinese government has done nothing to substantively address the root causes of the July unrest, and has responded to the unrest by carrying out killings and mass detentions of Uyghurs and bringing in tens of thousands of troops to the region. Chinese authorities have actively worked to exacerbate ethnic tensions in the region, and I fear that the politically-motivated sentences handed down to these six Uyghur men will only worsen tensions.”

Remarks made by Chinese government officials prior to the trial of the six condemned men indicate the existence of political pressure to issue death sentences to Uyghurs involved in the July 5 unrest. For instance, Urumchi Communist Party secretary Li Zhi, at a press conference on July 8, stated that executions would be used to deal with those involved in the unrest. The well-documented lack of transparency in the Chinese judicial system, especially for Uyghurs, coupled with the state-sanctioned threats towards lawyers who may represent Uyghur suspects, illustrates that executions, when they do take place, are political.

According to news reports, the seven Uyghurs tried on October 12 were defended by court-appointed lawyers. Although the men can appeal their sentences, it is not expected that the verdicts will be overturned.

Tayirejan Abulimit was reportedly given a more lenient sentence than the other men because he had confessed and had helped police capture at least one other suspect. However, UAA cautions that torture and forced confessions are an extremely prominent feature of most Uyghurs’ experiences at the hands of the police and judiciary in East Turkestan.

This feature of the PRC’s judicial system was criticized by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, who stated following a mission to the PRC – which included prison visits in East Turkestan – that torture remains “widespread”.

The verdicts of the seven Uyghur suspects followed just two days after a court in the southeastern province of Guangdong handed down a death sentence to a Han Chinese man who was alleged to have spread rumors that led to a deadly attack on Uyghurs at a toy factory. The attack, and the lack of response on the part of Chinese authorities to address the incident or punish those involved, led to the initially peaceful Uyghur protests that took place in Urumchi on July 5.

On October 14, a trial opened in the Intermediate People’s Court of Urumchi for 14 additional defendants charged with crimes related to the July 5 unrest. According to state media, the 14 are charged with murder, as well as robbery, arson and vandalism.

UAA is concerned that the 14 defendants, together with all remaining suspects to be tried in connection with the unrest in Urumchi, will also face politically-motivated trials that do not meet domestic or international legal standards. An October 9 China Daily article cited Urumchi’s deputy chief procurator, Liu Bo, as stating that 108 suspects stand accused of alleged involvement in the July unrest, including the 21 who have been tried or who are being tried on murder charges.

As reported by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) on September 14, a Xinjiang official acknowledged that authorities had detained Uyghurs who had protested peacefully on July 5, and state media reports indicated that some acts of peaceful protest or expression would be subject to formal criminal charges.

Many of the details on the criminal and judicial procedures in cases related to the Urumchi unrest as reported by the China Daily have been contested in reports emerging from East Turkestan, adding to grave doubts regarding the divergent official accounts of detentions and impending trials.

Chinese authorities have not been forthcoming regarding the details of attacks carried out against Uyghurs in the days and months following July 5. Officials have not publicized the number of Han Chinese to be tried for a rampage of killing of Uyghurs on July 6-7, 2009.

Eyewitness accounts described attacks on Uyghurs and Uyghur businesses in the wake of the alleged syringe stabbings in early September. Two prominent bloggers in China, Ilham Tohti and Woeser, reported the beating to death of Uyghur singer Mirzat Alim on September 2, 2009, and a severe beating suffered by Uyghur calligrapher and journalist Kaynam Jappar on September 3, 2009. Both attacks were carried out by Han Chinese mobs, according to the bloggers.

Uyghur Human Rights Project
Uyghur American Association
1701 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 300
Washington, D.C.  20006
Tel: +1 (202) 349 1496
Fax: +1 (202) 349 1491


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