Zhanargul Zhumatai, an ethnic Kazakh journalist and artist, was taken away from her mother’s house in Urumqi, Xinjiang on 10 February. The state security police detained her after she communicated with people abroad and spoke out for the land rights of Kazakh herding communities. Zhumatai had previously been detained in an internment camp for over two years, where she developed some heart problems reportedly due to lack of medical care. Without access to her family and lawyer of her choice Zhumatai remains at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
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Party Secretary of Xinjiang
Ma Xingrui 479 Zhongshan Lu, Tianshan Qu, Urumqi, 830041, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,
People’s Republic of China Copy: Director – Urumqi Public Security Bureau Shayibake Branch 4 Jingyi Lu, Urumqi, 830000, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Ambassador Qin Gang
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 / Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
I am writing to express my concern for Zhanargul Zhumatai (加娜古丽·朱马太), who is an ethnic Kazakh artist, musician, and journalist. Zhumatai was detained by state security police from the Shayibak branch of the Urumqi police department at her mother’s house on 10 February 2023, five weeks after the police urged her to check herself into a psychiatric facility simply for communicating with people abroad.
Zhumatai had previously been detained at the Dabancheng Vocational Training Center for two years and 23 days simply for purchasing a mobile phone in Kazakhstan that came with pre-installed Facebook and Instagram and having travelled to Kazakhstan. During her detention in the internment camp, she was reportedly shackled and handcuffed and developed some heart problems due to lack of medical care.
It is distressing to learn that Zhumatai and her family were threatened multiple times after she had written several letters, including to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) Legislative Office and the Secretary of the Party Committee of Xinjiang, about corruption among some local authorities and had written to local authorities about her communities’ land rights.
With no information regarding the charges against Zhanargul Zhumatai or the conditions under which she has been held, and without access to her family and a lawyer of her choice, I am deeply concerned about her wellbeing.
I therefore urge you to:
• Immediately release Zhanargul Zhumatai, unless there is sufficient, credible and admissible evidence that she has committed an internationally recognized offense;
• Pending her release, allow her regular access to her family and a lawyer of her choice, and ensure she is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment;
• Pending her release, ensure that she has access to adequate medical care.