A Uyghur living in exile from his Chinese-ruled homeland has denied Chinese reports of connections with a former Uyghur official who was recently sentenced to death for secession, and said he did not. has nothing to do with a shadow organization described by Beijing as a “terrorist”.
The allegations made in a televised and seemingly coercive confession of Shirzat Bawudun, a former senior government official in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), was aired on April 9 by China Global Television Network of China.
Speaking in a recent interview with RFA, Tahir Abbas – a resident of Turkey since 2017 – said that Bawudun’s statements accuse Abbas of helping him contact and offer to support the Movement. East Turkistan Islam (ETIM) “is completely false”.
“We have absolutely no connections,” Abbas said, adding that he watched a video of Bawudun’s confession just because he had heard his own name in it.
The XUAR Supreme Court’s April 6 statement that Abbas and Bawudun met in Mecca in 2006 with a Muslim cleric based in the Hotan district (in Chinese, Hetian) named Ablajan Bekir nor true, Abbas said RFA.
“I don’t know Ablajan Damollam,” Abbas said, referring to the cleric in a term for a respected religious elder. “Because I am from Qaraqash, I heard that he seems to be a pope of a mosque, but I have never met him in person,” he said.
“If that man sees me, he won’t know who I am. I wouldn’t know him if I saw him either, ”he said.
“I didn’t even go to Mecca in 2006,” Abbas said.
On April 6, the authorities in XUAR announced that Bawudun, the former chief of the XUAR Supreme Court and the deputy secretary of the XUAR Political and Legal Committee, was sentenced to the death of two years in prison. hangs after convictions of “secession” and “terrorism.”
Sentenced to Bawudun, and also sentenced to death, was the former education director of XUAR Sattar Sawut.
Although the Supreme Court released the rulings on April 6, it released no further information about when and where the trials took place, how they proceeded, and when the actual judgments took place. decision.
Other prominent Uighurs have been sentenced to death since 2017, when authorities in the region launched a mass incarceration campaign that included 1.8 million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities. was held in a large network of detention centers, but this was the first time. for which senior government officials were sentenced to death.
The verdicts, issued when the US government and some Western parliaments have designated the violations of rights in XUAR as part of the state-backed genocide policy, have prompted observers ask further questions about the severity of the situation in the region where the legal system is. has long been used as an oppressive tool by the state.
‘Dividing the country’
According to limited information shared by the court, Bawudun was charged with “planning to divide the country in the long term”, “participating in the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and betraying the interests of the people and country, ”and“ Providing illegal intelligence to people outside the border [of China]. “
Bawudun has been promised by the ETIM board to take a senior position in government in an independent Uyghur country in the future because of the work he has done for them, the Supreme Court also charged.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court stated that Shirzat Bawudun provided ETIM with 1.2 million yuan in cash, along with a set of houses. However, that amount could be related to donations to the annual hajj, or a pilgrimage to Mecca, which about 100 Muslims in Qaraqash have assigned to Ablajan Bekir as secretary of the mosque. their spears, according to those familiar with the incident.
Bawudun was on the same pilgrimage but may not have reported the money to the Chinese authorities, may have used it after being caught as “criminal evidence” that he provided the money to the ETIM. .
The ETIM, previously on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, was scrapped late last year because of “no credible evidence” that the group continued to exist, the US said. .
Teng Biao, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer living in the US, told RFA that the televised confession of Shirzat Bawudun in which he identified Abbas and Bekir as contacts may have been coercion, adding, “In the process of handling these cases, China used a variety of methods, including torture and various types of psychological pressure. “
“Can a person really function under such tremendous pressure?” he asks.
Jilil Kashgary’s Report for The Uyghur Service of the RFA. Translated by Uyghur Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.