Wednesday, 26 August 2009

200 Uighurs tortured and killed

It's been alleged that the Chinese police tortured and killed 200 Uighurs arrested after the July riots:

Kadeer, who lives in the Washington area, said Monday she received a fax from a Uighur policeman who fled to nearby Kyrgyzstan and gave a grim account of Urumbay prison south of the city of Urumqi.

The policeman said that 196 Uighurs detained in a clampdown in the region "were tortured and killed" at the detention center, according to Kadeer.

"One of the Uighurs, named Erkin, couldn't stand the torture and killed himself," she said during a recording of a segment on the current affairs cable network C-Span about her memoir, "Dragon Fighter," which was published in May.

The World Uighur Congress leader said it was impossible to verify the account as phone lines had been cut.

"I'm sure that as soon as this is made public, China will say that it's not true," she said. "We cannot prove it because everything is down." (1)

Interestingly, there is some confusion about the number of detainees awaiting trial after the riots. Officially the total is 83, but earlier reports suggested a figure of 200:

On Monday, the state-run China Daily reported on its front page that prosecutions would begin later this week against at least 200 people involved in the violence.

But on Tuesday Li Hua, an official at the Xinjiang government media office, questioned the accuracy of the report.

"At present, there is no scheduled date for the trial," he told reporters. "I don't know how China Daily got that information, but it's not true. We will announce it to the media when there is a trial."

He also denied that the number of people facing trial was as many as 200, citing an earlier report which put the figure at 83. (2)

Perhaps somone accidentally released the figure of those who are being tried and 'dealt with' in camera, rather than the show trials?
1 - "Uighur exile airs prison killing allegation," unattributed AFP article. Hosted by google, 25th of August, 2009. (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iWj7kMhvfE2MZBoQ5ewS8EPyJFaA)
2 - "Confusion over Xinjiang trials," unattributed BBC article, published 25th of August, 2009. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8219900.stm)

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