Rebiya Kadeer’s adult children severely beaten in front of her grandchildren

For immediate release
June 1, 2006, 2:15 p.m. EDT
Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project +1 (202) 349 1496

Amended on June 1 2006 to reflect the correct legal status of the three adult children

Rebiya KadeerThe Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) has learned that two adult children of Rebiya Kadeer were severely beaten by police officers outside the regional capital of Urumchi on June 1. The beating was witnessed by four of Ms Kadeer\’s grandchildren. Her son Ablikim Abdiriyim who suffers from a heart condition, lost consciousness and was taken to hospital where it is thought he remains.

The Chinese press reported this morning that Alim and Ablikim Kadeer are in criminal detention while Rushangul is under a form of house arrest. However, the report referred only to allegations of financial impropriety against Ms Kadeer\’s business interests and did not mention the visiting Congressional team. The report claims that the questioning was routine and “according to law but that the brothers were formally detained when Alim became “rude and unreasonable .

The three adult children were initially detained on May 30 to try and stop them meeting with a US Congressional team with an affiliation to the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus. The Congressional team is understood to still be in East Turkistan, also referred to as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and it is almost certain that their removal from Urumchi and beating is an indication of the Chinese authorities\’ determination that Ms Kadeer\’s family would not meet the Congressional team.

Ablikim AbdiriyimBefore news of the beatings had emerged, a spokesperson for the US State Department told Agence France Presse (AFP), “We are working to contact the families in Xinjiang directly, and added “We will continue to urge that they be allowed to move and act freely.

According to UHRP\’s sources, Chinese police told Ms Kadeer\’s three adult children and four grandchildren that they were being taken out of Urumchi for “sightseeing . The grandchildren, between four and 15 years of age, witnessed the police beating Alim and Ablikim Abdiriyim and are not being permitted to return home.

Several of Ms Kadeer\’s other family members in Urumchi remain under constant surveillance in their homes, and have reportedly been restricted from cooking or even eating. However, this morning a grandchild of Ms Kadeer managed to make a phone call to her, and told her she was frightened by the presence of seven policemen in her home and asked her grandmother to “rescue her .

Rushangul Abdiriyim,“The Chinese police have beaten my sons and terrorized my grandchildren, said Ms. Kadeer, contacted today at her home in the Washington area. “This is just the most diabolical treatment of my family – this is what we the Uyghur people are up against.

Official Chinese media reports this morning described Ms Kadeer as being “a figurehead for the ‘three evil forces\’ abroad – official Chinese jargon for separatism, religious extremism and terrorism — and accused her of “engaging in splittist activities .

The reports also repeated previously made charges that Ms Kadeer\’s company, Akida Trading Company Ltd., has engaged in “illegal methods of avoiding paying taxes , in addition to other charges. Ms Kadeer stated today that her business does not owe any money at all. “We are completely innocent of all tax fraud charges, stated Ms. Kadeer, whose business was once lauded by the Chinese authorities as a model of success. “The Chinese government knows the allegations are false, but it is impossible for us to defend ourselves as they have confiscated all of our financial documents. The persistent allegations of financial irregularities appear designed to discredit Ms Kadeer personally and professionally.

Alim AbdiriyimAccording to an RFA Uyghur Service report, Roshangul Abdurehim, contacted earlier this week at her home in Urumchi, said a police officer named Askar had warned her, “If you don\’t cooperate with us, we will destroy your family. You are all criminals.

Rebiya Kadeer\’s family and former business associates have faced almost constant harassment by police ever since she was first detained by police in Urumchi in 1999, but particularly since her release and exile to the US and her outspoken criticism of the Chinese government\’s treatment of the Uyghur people. Police in Urumchi last year established a unit devoted to investigating and policing the relatives and businesses of Rebiya Kadeer.

Ms. Kadeer\’s detention in 1999, which then led to her formal arrest and eventual sentencing on political charges, came when she herself tried to contact a visiting US Congressional team. Ms. Kadeer was sentenced to eight years in prison, but released early and immediately flown to the US on March 17, 2005, just days before US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was due to visit Beijing.