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Uyghur PEN Centre Conference in Crimea 19 July 2012.
 

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  • Xinjiang Authorities Sentence Prominent Uyghur Author to 20 Years in Prison

    RFA Uyghur 2021-04-23 Ahtam Omer was targeted for sending his nephew to Egypt to study and sending him money there. A facility believed to be an internment camp located north of Kashgar, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, June 2, 2019. AFP Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have sentenced a prominent Uyghur author, whose work was targeted in a book burning campaign following his detention four years ago, to 20 years in prison, according to officials. A tipster recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service that Ahtam Omer, the author of a collection of short stories entitled Child of the Eagle and who had been missing since early 2017, had been detained and that his book was ripped from shelves across the XUAR last year and set alight as part of a campaign to censor him. According to the source, Omer was detained in 2017 in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture’s Makit (Maigaiti) county, a month after his brother Anwar Omer and nephew Iskander Omer. “Ahtam Omer was detained and taken from his home on March 12, 2017,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “The basic reason for this, the reason given at the time, was that he had sent his older brother’s son to study in Egypt and sent money to him.” Egypt is one of several countries blacklisted by authorities in the XUAR for travel by Uyghurs because of a perceived risk of indoctrination with Islamic extremism. The source said Omer’s literary work was stopped during the police investigation into his activities, after which he was charged with “separatism” and sentenced to prison in a secret trial in the XUAR capital Urumqi in late 2018. In an effort to verify the claims, RFA’s Uyghur Service spoke with a representative from the office where […]