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China17.04.2008

Call for release of young Uyghur activist on first anniversary of sentencing

Reporters Without Borders called today for the release of Ablikim Abdiriyim on the first anniversary of the imposition of a nine-year sentence on him by a court in the northwestern province of Xinjiang for posting “separatist” articles online. He is the son of Rebiya Kadeer, a leading Uyghur campaigner.

“The authorities go on about Uyghur terrorism, but Abdiriyim was arrested for strictly peaceful activities,” the press freedom organisation said. “He was accused of emailing articles to the webmaster of Yahoo.com’s Uyghur-language service although Yahoo! has no such service. The charges seem to have been trumped up to punish his mother, Rebiya Kadeer. We call on the Chinese government to explain his arrest and justify his prison sentence.”

Arrested in June 2006, Abdiriyim was given a sham trial the following January. The verdict and sentence were issued on 17 April 2007. According to the government news agency Xinhua, the verdict alleged that he sent the offending articles to Yahoo.com’s Uyghur-language webmaster.

Abdiriyim’s mother, Rebiya Kadeer, has been a well-known Uyghur activist for many years and at one point was a member of the political advisory body known as the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Arrested on the government’s orders in 1999, she was released in 2005 and was allowed to travel to the United States, where she now lives.





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