AI: China convicts Uighur web managers on state security charges
Amnesty International has condemned the closed trial and conviction ofthree Uighur website managers on state security charges.Dilshat Perhat, web manager and owner of the Diyarim website wassentenced to five years by an Urumqi court in a closed trial on 21 July;Nureli, web manager of Salkin was sentenced to three years; andNijat Azat, web manager of Shabnam was sentenced to 10 years, accordingto Dilmurat Perhat, Dishat’s brother. The three websites were among the most popular Uighur language news andcommunity forums operating in Xinjiang prior to the 5 July 2009 riots.”The Chinese governments’ attempts to control all online activity inXinjiang is not going to silence those with genuine grievances,” saidSam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific Director for Amnesty International. “These threeUighur web managers must be released.” Dilmurat was repeatedly warned by Xinjiang authorities against speakingto the media about his brother Dilshat’s case. He had earlier compliedwith their demands out of fear that his brother could be convicted. “Buttoday, I’m not worried because my brother has been sentenced already,”Dilmurat told Amnesty International from the United Kingdom.“This government charge against my brother and the other Uighur websiteswas for endangering state security, but they didn’t do anything” saidDilmurat, who had worked with his brother Dilshat in managing the Diyarimwebsite. “My brother was supportive of the Chinese government always. Weran the website from 2002 to 2009 – for seven years, we didn’t have anyproblems with the Chinese government.” Dilmurat says that the secret nature of the Urumqi trials were a resultof government fear of protest, because “the Chinese government has notany evidence to sentence these people.” He suspects that web managers came under pressure from authorities dueto articles that anonymous people posted on their websites prior to the5 July, 2009 riots in Urumqi. The riots led to 197 deaths accordingto official figures, and more than 1,400 detentions.Amnesty International’s investigation of the riots suggests that the Chinesegovernment used excessive force in dealing with the riots and in theiraftermath, arbitrarily detained Uighurs, and mistreated detainees. AI’sfindings were published in June 2010 as ‘Justice, Justice’ – The July2009 protests in Xinjiang, China. From 3 July 2009, Dilmurat’s brother notified Chinese security officialsfive to six times to notify them that articles calling for a peaceful demonstrationhad been posted anonymously on the Diyaram website, and that hehad deleted them. A demonstration notice was posted again at 3:30am on Sunday 5 July, on the Diyarim, Salkin and Shabnamwebsites, and the web managers were not able to remove them until laterin the day. Following the riots, the three websites were all closed down by governmentcensors. Amnesty International is calling for the release of the Uighur languageweb managers and for the release of other arbitrarily detained Uighurs. Prominent Uighur journalist Hairat Niyaz was recently sentenced to 15 yearsimprisonment through a secret trial in Urumqi, for little more than givinginterviews to Hong Kong media. Uighur writer Gulmira Imin, who had contributed to the Salkin website,was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2010 for ‘splittism, leakingstate secrets and organising an illegal demonstration.’ During hertrial she alleged torture and ill-treatment in detention.Related Justice, Justice http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/027/2010/enChina sentences Uighur journalist to 15-year prison termhttp://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/china-sentences-uighur-journalist-15-year-prison-term-2010-07-23
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