China Sentences Uighur to Life for Reporting Riots

Last week an investigative journalist in Xinjiang was beaten and is now brain dead in a hospital. And now news that another journalist in Xinjiang has been sentenced to life in prison for his role during the violent riots that engulfed Urumqi in 2009. From AP:

Memetjan Abdulla, a 33-year-old journalist with the Uighur language service of China National Radio, was sentenced during a closed-door trial in April in Urumqui, Xinjiang’s capital, said Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress.

Information about the sentencing has only recently emerged from local Uighurs, Raxit told the AP in an e-mail late Thursday.

Abdulla was charged with helping incite riots in July 2009 between Han Chinese and ethnic minority Uighurs in which nearly 200 people died, according to Radio Free Asia. The riots had followed Uighur protests over the beating deaths of factory workers in another part of China.

Abdulla translated a call issued by the World Uyghur Congress for Uighurs in exile to protest the beating deaths in their host countries. The call had appeared on a Chinese website, and Abdulla translated it and reposted it on a Uighur-language website that he managed, according to Radio Free Asia and Raxit.

The Uyghur Congress spokesman defended Abdulla as a journalist and expressed concern about his current condition.


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