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China 21 November 2005

Editor of literary review gets three years in prison

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the three-year prison sentence passed by a court in Kashgar, in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang in northwestern China, on Korash Huseyin, the editor of the Kashgar Literature Review, for publishing a fable supposedly alluding to the region’s harsh laws.

“There are absolutely no grounds for this conviction, which is one more example of the paranoia of the authorities and their desire to silence all dissent,” the press freedom organisation said, calling for it to be overturned.

“It is time for Uighur authors to be able to enjoy the right to express themselves without having to fear being prosecuted for supposed calls for violence or opposition to Chinese sovereignty,” Reporters Without Borders added.

Huseyin, who is married and has three children, was convicted for publishing a story last year called “The Wild Pigeon” by Nurmuhemmet Yasin, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February for supposedly inciting Uighur separatism.

Written in the first person, the story described a young pigeon that was put in a cage by humans and took its own life rather than sacrifice its freedom. The authorities claimed that it was about Yasin’s father, who poisoned himself in similar circumstances, and argued that it therefore contained a political message.

Ismail Tiliwaldi, the Uighur governor of Xinjiang, said Yasin’s arrest was necessary to maintain stability in the region.

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