AI URGENT ACTION: LIFE SENTENCE FOR 18-YEAR-OLD, UNFAIR TRIAL

18-year-old Noor-Ul-IslamSherbaz was sentenced to life imprisonment on 13 April 2010, followingdemonstrations and subsequent violence in western China in July 2009. Histrial was unfair and his confession may have been extracted under torture.

Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbazhas been held incommunicadosince 27 July 2009, when he was detained in the wake of unrest in the XinjiangUighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Police informed his family that he wasdetained because of his alleged participation in demonstrations in Urumqi(in Chinese: Wulumuqi) on 5 July 2009 and told them that a boy of his buildwas suspected of attacking peoplewith stones.

His trial by the Aksu (in Chinese:Akesu) Intermediate People’s Court on 13 April lasted only 30 minutes.His mother attended the trial, but was told about it only one day in advance.The Court was shown video footage of a group of Uighurs beating a man.Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz wasnot present inthe group beating the man inthevideo nor is he shownon the video carrying a stone. The video does, however, showhim on the same street.The Court was also shown another video, shot a couple of months later,inwhich he was taken by policeofficers to visit the allegedmurder scene. On this video, he confesses to the killing. It is possiblethat his confession was extracted through torture. The Court found Noor-Ul-IslamSherbaz guilty of “murder (or intentional homicide)” and “provokingan incident” (Criminal Law articles 232 and 293 respectively). Duringhis trial, he was represented by a lawyer appointed by the court. He isappealing his verdict.

Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz was heldfor the first 8 months in Xishan Detention Centre in Urumqi, but was thentransferred to a detention centre in Aksu in western XUAR, approximately1000 km from Urumqi for the trial. He was 17 years old at the time of theJuly 2009 unrest and turned 18 on 16 January in detention.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELYin English, Chinese or your own language:expressing concern that Noor-UI-IslamSherbaz did not receive a fair trial and may have been convicted basedon a confession extracted through torture;calling on the authoritiesto conduct a retrial for Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz, in line with internationalfair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty; calling on the authoritiesto guarantee he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated while in custody;calling on the authoritiesto ensure that he is given access to a lawyer of his choice, his familyand any medical treatment that he may require. PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE1 JUNE 2010 TO: ChiefProcuratorof the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Regional People's Procuratorate,Maimaiti YUSUFU Jianchazhang ,Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Renmin Jianchayuan,63 Jianguolu, Tianshanqu, Urumqi, Xinjiang Weiwuer ZizhiquPeople's Republic of ChinaSalutation: Dear ChiefProcuratorPresident of the XinjiangUighur Autonomous Regional Higher People’s Court, Rozi ISMAIL Yuanzhang,Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Gaoji Renmin Fayuan, 19 Kunlunlu, Urumqi 83003,Xinjiang Weiwuer ZizhiquPeople's Republic of ChinaTelephone: +86 991 2617869Salutation: Dear PresidentAnd copies to:Chairman of the State EthnicAffairsCommission, YANG Jing Zhuren,Guojia Minzu Shiwu Weiyuanhui252 Taipingqiaodajie, XichengquBeijingshi 100800Fax: +86 10 66017375Email: zhuren@seac.gov.cnPeople's Republic of ChinaSalutation: Your ExcellencyAlsosend copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Pleasecheckwith your section office if sending appeals after the above date.This is the first update of UA: 336/09 (Index: ASA 17/071/2009, 15 December2009). Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/071/2009/en

Additional Information

A police crackdown on an initiallypeaceful demonstration by Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region(XUAR) capital, Urumqi, was followed by violent riots in July 2009. Theinitial demonstration on 5 July was in reaction to authorities’ initialinaction following the death of at least two Uighur workers after a riotat a factory in Shaoguan, in the southern province of Guangdong, on 26June 2009. The aftermath of the crackdownsaw violence on the part of both Uighurs and Han Chinese, sweeping house-to-housesearches and widespread detentions by security forces, and the likely enforceddisappearance of hundreds of Uighurs. The unrest was fuelled by years ofrepression and discriminatory government policies towards ethnic minoritiesin the region, including arbitrary detention, unfair trials, employmentdiscrimination, and repression of religious freedoms and cultural rights.According to the officialfigures, nearly 200 people died in the violence, the majority of them "innocentHan Chinese killed by angry mobs," and over 1,600 were injured. However,Amnesty International interviews with eyewitnesses following the unrestcontradict the official version of events, suggesting that excessive forceon the part of security forces, including beatings, the use of teargasand shooting directly into crowds of protesters, resulted in possibly hundredsof additional Uighur deaths.It is not known how many peoplehave been or remain detained in connection with the unrest. However, inAugust of last year, the Chinese authorities told the UN Committee on theElimination of Racial Discrimination that they were holding 718 peoplein connection with the July unrest and in December they announced the arrestof an additional 94 individuals who had been on the “wanted” list followingthe unrest as part of a “strike hard” campaign. The authorities havenot provided names of those detained and have failed to respond to inquiriesregarding disappeared individuals or those believed to be in their custody.The Chinese authorities commonlylaunch periodic "strike hard" campaigns on crime. During the"strike hard" campaigns, police, prosecutors and judges are underpressure to demonstrate speed and resolve to meet quotas at the expenseof procedural protections and justice.Similarly, it isn’t clearhow many people have been tried and sentenced in connection with the unrest.In March 2010, Nur Bekri, the governor of the XUAR attending the annualmeeting of China’s legislature the National People’s Congress, told journaliststhat 198 people had been convicted in 97 separate cases for their allegedinvolvement in the unrest, and that more would follow. He also said thatseveral dozen death sentences had been handed down. To date, official statemedia has reported the execution of nine individuals, and death sentencesfor an additional 26 individuals, including death sentences with a two-yearreprieve in connection with the July unrest in the XUAR

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