Manchester student appeals for brother's release from detention in China

A Manchester student, Dilimulati Paerhati, has started a campaign for the release of his brother, who is believed to be held incommunicado by the authorities in northwest China and is at serious risk of torture.

His 27-year-old brother, Dilixiati Paerhati, was taken from his home in the city of Urumqi in China’s troubled Xinjiang region, on 7 August this year, accompanied by unidentified men. He has not been heard from since. Amnesty International has taken up his case and its supporters are writing to the Chinese authorities, demanding that he is released or charged with a criminal offence and given a fair trial.

Dilimulati, 30, is studying international business management at Manchester Metropolitan University, and has lived in Manchester for three years. He said:

“The phone lines are blocked after the unrest in Xinjiang, so I can’t even speak to my family to find out if they’ve had any news.

“I just want to know that my brother is OK, and to help get him released. He was due get married this summer, but he had to postpone the wedding because of all the trouble in our city.

“He only edits a website, he hasn’t done anything wrong. There has been trouble in Xinjiang but my brother wasn’t part of it. He didn’t even write about it.”

Dilixiati Paerhati, from China’s Uighur ethnic minority, is the editor of a popular website called Diyarim.com, which Dilimulati also worked on. The website has been off-line since 6 July, when the authorities began closing down Internet, international telephone and text messaging services in Urumqi and many other parts of the region on 5 July. The authorities have claimed that this is in order to “prevent violence from spreading”.

The police had interrogated Dilixiati Paerhati for around eight days from 24 July, in relation to the unrest in Urumqi. When he was released the investigating officers told him that he “didn’t have any problems”. Yet only a few days later he was detained once again.

Violence and widespread unrest broke out in Urumqi and in other parts of Xinjiang province in July, after a police crackdown on initially peaceful demonstrations in Urumqi by Uighurs. The demonstrators protested the authorities’ initial inaction following the death of two Uighur workers during a violent riot at a factory in southern China.

Amnesty International UK spokesperson Steve Ballinger said:

“Amnesty supporters around the world are writing to the Chinese authorities, urging them to respect Dilixiati Paerhati’s human rights. Officials should tell his family where he is being held, let them see him, and guarantee that he is not being ill-treated. And unless he’s going to be charged and put on trial, they should release Dilixiati Paerhati immediately.”

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