Mutellip Imin

Charge: Separatism
Sentence:  3-8 years (specific length unknown)
Location: Unknown


Imin was a student of Uyghur scholar, Ilham Tohti and contributed to the Uighurbiz website. He was detained in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture on January 15, 2014; he was then 25 years old. He was among seven students of Ilham Tohti tried on November 25 and sentenced on December 8.

Imin was previously detained in 2013. Like his girlfriend, Atikem Rozi, Imin’s detention was connected to international travel, and only known to the world as a result of his courageous exposition on social media. Imin was detained en route to Turkey to complete the second year of his master’s degree at Istanbul University; police prevented him from leaving the country and confiscated his identification documents, without explanation. 

Journalist Alexa Oleson notes in a Foreign Policy profile that among the arrested students, Imin had the largest online presence, including on Sina Weibo, Wordpress, Twitter and Facebook. After his detention, he described the experience in a widely circulated blog post, “I was a victim of enforced disappearance for 79 days.” Held in 3 hotels for 79 consecutive days, he was questioned about his work for Uighurbiz, and required to hand over passwords to his phone, computer and social media accounts.

Issue (enforced disappearance):

Testimony as frank and descriptive as Mutellip Imin’s is rare, but enforced disappearances of Uyghurs are a common tactic employed by Chinese authorities. In recent years, widespread enforced disappearances have been reported following the July 2009 unrest in Urumchi. Both Human Rights Watch and UHRP released reports documenting accounts of hundreds of mostly young men rounded up and subsequently disappeared after the incident.

More recently, mass round ups of Uyghur males following an incident in Yarkent county last July have resulted in major difficulties for farmers in the region, RFA reports, though information on that incident has been so heavily restricted that the legality of the mass arrests has never even come up in a public forum.

Get involved:

Sign UHRP’s petition to release all 8 prisoners in this campaign

Read/listen/watch on:

Watch an AFP report featuring a protest in Urumchi on July 7, 2009 by Uyghur mothers demanding to know the whereabouts of their children, many of whom were forcibly disappeared by police. To this day, many Uyghurs remain unaccounted for after the July 2009 unrest and the total number of detained has been concealed by the Chinese state.

Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) urges President Obama to call for release of Ilham Tohti during Xi Jinping visit to Washington, DC (UHRP, September 21, 2015)
After Sentencing for ‘Separatism,’ Finding the Humans Behind the Bars (Foreign Policy: December 18, 2014)
I was a Victim of Enforced Disappearance for 79 Days (Mutellip Imin: December 9, 2013)
Cases of Enforced Disappearances of Civilians in East Turkestan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China) After the 5 July Incident of 2009 (World Uyghur Congress: June 21, 2012)
Can Anyone Hear Us? Voices From The 2009 Unrest In Urumchi(Uyghur Human Rights Project: July 1, 2010)
Enforced Disappearances in the Wake of Xinjiang’s Protests (Human Rights Watch: October 20, 2009)


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