China imprisons Uighur dissident

A court in Urumqi, the capital of China’s restive Xinkiang autonomous region, has sentenced the son of exiled Uighur nationalist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Rebiya Kadeer to nine years in prison for secessionist activities. Ablikim Abdiriyim was found guilty of posting articles advocating secessionism on the Internet and related (nonviolent) offenses. (Radio Australia, April 18)

Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent Uighur businesswoman, was arrested in 1999 on her way to meet US congressmen. She was released after six years and allowed to leave for the United States in 2005, where she now heads the Uighur American Association.

“They would not appoint a lawyer for him and didn’t give him an opportunity to defend himself, and they held the hearing in secret,” Kadeer told the Washington Post. Another son, Alim Abdureyim, was sentenced to seven years in prison in September 2006 on tax evasion charges. And another son was convicted of tax evasion but spared a prison term, while a daughter has been placed under house arrest. (Asia News, April 18)

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