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WUC Condemns Death of Uyghur Youth in Detention

World Uyghur Congress Press release | 04 June 2012

Contact: World Uyghur Congress
Tel. 0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or e-mail

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) strongly condemns the abhorrent death of 12 year old Mirzahid whilst in police custody in Korla, East Turkestan. The case is riddled with many violations of fundamental international human rights law, as well as reminiscent of the persecution that Uyghurs face on a day-to-day basis and other deaths in detention of minors, such as that of Noor-ul-Islam Shebaz in November 2011.

Although the details surrounding his arrest are not quite clear due to the difficulties in obtaining information, according to the reputable Radio Free Asia (RFA – written in Uyghur) and other articles, a young Uyghur boy, Mirzahid, was arrested on 20 May 2012 while undertaking basic lessons in Islamic prayer and reading of the Qu'uran along with two other students and their teacher, whose fate remain unknown. The lesson was taking place at the home of their the student's teacher. Uyghurs have been forced to seek alternative ways to attain a basic religious education due to the severe religious restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. Only state sanctioned religious schools are legal, which have very limited places and notoriously difficult entry requirements, thus hindering access for many Uyghurs.

Mirzahid's mother reported to RFA that the police called to inform her that her son had committed suicide while in detention, and, when she went to retrieve his body, it became painfully clear that he had been tortured, with clear evidence of strangulation around the neck, beatings, among other signs. The police went on to tell her that she should not speak of his death and should also quietly bury Mirzahid's body immediately. He was subsequently buried with the presence of the police and without any reading of the Qu'uran being permitted on 22nd May 2012.

His death comes against the backdrop of increased presence of security forces in the region since a clash in Korla between young Uyghurs and police, in which time four Uyghurs were killed (in Turkish). In addition, Mirzahid's father has been living in exile for the past 11 years.

Speaking on the situation, WUC President, Rebiya Kadeer said: “Whilst the fact that many Uyghur adults are detained, tortured and, in cases, executed or die as a result of their treatment is utterly deplorable, the case of Mirzahid is particularly barbaric. Whatever his crime – indeed, precedents suggest that there was unlikely to be a crime – no child should be detained, moreover tortured to death. This incident is a flagrant abuse of the most basic international human rights law.”

China has ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ms. Kadeer went on to say: “China must recognise the competency of the Committee against Torture, and undertake all measures so that this barbaric act does not repeat itself again. China must immediately cease its persecution of Uyghurs and the denial of their right to freedom of religion, especially for children for whom there should be no exception.”

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About the WUC

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international umbrella organization that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in East Turkestan and abroad and promotes Uyghur human rights and a peaceful and non-violent solution based on rule of law for the conflict in East Turkestan.

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World Uyghur Congress
P.O. Box 310312
80103 Munich, Germany
Tel:0049 (0) 89 5432 1999
Fax: 0049 (0) 89 5434 9789

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