Post Tagged with: "Ahtam Omer"
MAY 18, 2021 / WRITERSANDFREEEXPRESSION Today’s #100PENMembers is prominent Uyghur writer Ahtam Omer, recently sentenced to twenty years in prison by the authorities of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. He is the author of a well-known short story Child of the Eagle and the popular novel Greetings to the Homeland from Distant Horizon, which depicts the author’s first travel abroad and the comparisons that he makes with his homelife. He was taken from his home on 12 March 2017, a month after his brother and nephew. The reason given, according to witnesses, was that he had paid for his brother’s son to study in Egypt. Egypt is one of several countries blacklisted in the XUAR for travel by Uyghurs because of a perceived risk of their coming into contact with and being indoctrinated by Islamic extremists. He was charged with “separatism” in a secret trial in the Xuar capital, Urumqi in 2018. In 2020 several of his books – including Child of the Eagle – were burned by authorities. According to an RSA report ‘The story was initially published in China Ethnicities Literature, a national journal, and long stayed far away from any official criticism as a result. However, by 2017, as a wave of “looking to the past” had begun in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), including in the field of literature, a number of books were rounded up under accusations that they contained separatist content.’ The book had a significant impact on Uyghur society because of its focus on the themes of freedom and the spirit of struggle. Omer’s arrest took place at the same time as authorities in the region began to detain an estimated 1.8 million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in vast internment counts. The Chinese government has denied the existence of camps, then, in 2019, began to refer […]
China – Xinjiang: Severe prison sentences for Uyghur writers is latest example of government efforts to erase Uyghur culture
PEN International Monday 10 May 2021 – 3:37pm PEN International is alarmed by recent reports of severe prison sentences being handed down to Uyghur writers and intellectuals, many of whom had already been extrajudicially detained for several years in Xinjiang’s notorious re-education camps. We continue our call for an immediate end to the atrocious repression of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang carried out by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Among those detained is literary translator and academic principal, Ahmetjan Juma, who was reportedly sentenced in 2019 to 14 years’ imprisonment according to a social media post made by his brother on 1 May 2021. The sentencing took place two years after he was initially detained in a re-education camp in 2017 for possessing a book that was prohibited by the authorities. His brother, who works as Deputy Director of Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Uyghur Service, believes that Ahmetjan Juma’s punitive prison sentence is a form of punishment for his work at RFA highlighting human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Recent reports have also emerged about the sentencing of Uyghur writer, Ahtam Omer, to 20 years’ imprisonment on separatism charges after he was initially detained on 12 March 2017 for allegedly sending money to his nephew while he was studying in Egypt. The author of much-loved books, including Child of the Eagle and Polluted Lake, Ahtam Omer was also a member of the China Writers’ Association and had previously worked as a professional writer for the Kashgar Prefectural Literary and Artistic Association, according to a profile by Uyghur PEN. Despite Child of the Eagle having been published as part of the prestigious China Ethnicities Literature journal, in 2020 the book was reportedly taken off shelves and burned by the authorities as part of a campaign to vilify and destroy Uyghur literary works, many of which were previously given […]