04/27/2020

Urgent Action: Fears of Imprisonment for Missing Kazakh Writer (China: UA 63.20)


Kazakh writer Nagyz Muhammed was arrested in March 2018 in Xinjiang, China, after his last visit to Kazakhstan. His family learned through word of mouth that, due to a dinner he had with friends on Kazakhstan Independence Day about 10 years ago, Nagyz Muhammed was convicted in a secret trial on charges of “separatism” and sentenced to seven years in prison. No contact has been made with him for more than two years and, without official information about his whereabouts or alleged trial and conviction, there are grave concerns for Nagyz Muhammed’s well-being.

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Director Wang Jiang
Prison Administration Bureau of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
No 380, Huanghe lu,Urumqi
830000, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
People’s Republic of China
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 I Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Director Wang,

I write to express my concern for Nagyz Muhammed, a Kazakh who worked as a writer in Altay’s State Intangible Cultural Heritage Office in Xinjiang. He is also a member of the Xinjiang Writers Association.

In early 2018, Nagyz Muhammed travelled to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to stay with relatives after undergoing heart surgery in Urumqi. In March 2018, his colleague in China asked him to get back to work urgently. Returning to Altay later that month, Nagyz Muhammed was summoned to the local police station and questioned about his last visit to Kazakhstan. No contact has been made with him since.

In December 2018 his family was told by a source that, as a result of being tortured during an interrogation, Nagyz Muhammed’s health had deteriorated so significantly that he was sent to a “transformation-through-education” center. His family members learned from the same source that he was sent to a detention center once his condition improved.

After nearly a year of uncertainty, Nagyz Muhammed’s family only received official notification about his arrest in early 2019. No additional official information has since been provided. His family were told by a source in April 2020 that Nagyz Muhammed had been convicted of “separatism” and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in connection with a dinner he attended with friends on Kazakhstan Independence Day about a decade ago. I am deeply concerned about reports that the trial was conducted in secret and that Nagyz Muhammed was not allowed access to a lawyer of his choice.

I call on you to disclose Nagyz Muhammed’s whereabouts, allow him access to his family and a lawyer of his choice, and ensure he is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment; and reelease Nagyz Muhammed immediately and unconditionally, unless there is sufficient, credible and admissible evidence that he committed as internationally recognized offense and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards

Yours sincerely,

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