Urgent Action Update: FIRST CONTACT WITH DETAINED UYGHUR IN YEARS (China: UA 79.20)
March 12, 2021
For the first time since he went missing in April 2016, Uyghur businessman Ekpar Asat was able to communicate with his family. During the short three-minute video conversation in late January 2021, he told his family members that he had been held in solitary confinement and his health was declining both physically and mentally. His family confirmed that he had lost significant weight and that he looked pale with lots of black spots on his face. Convicted without any known trial on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination” and sentenced to 15 years in prison, there are grave concerns for Ekpar Asat’s condition and wellbeing.
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Director Wang Jiang Prison Administration
Bureau of Xinjiang Uyghur
No 380, Huanghe lu, Urumqi
People’s Republic of China
830000, Xinjiang Uyghur
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
Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Director Wang:
I am writing to express my grave concern for Uyghur businessman Ekpar Asat (艾克拜尔·艾赛提), who is serving a 15-year prison sentence in a prison in Aksu Prefecture for “inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination” (民族歧视、煽动民族仇恨) without any known trial.
While it is a welcome development that Ekpar Asat was finally able to communicate with his family for the first time since 2016, I find it distressing to learn how significantly his health appears to have deteriorated. During the three-minute video conversation with his family members in late January 2021, he was seen to have lost a lot of weight and looked pale with black spots on his face. He told his family members that his health was declining both physically and mentally, and it is feared that he has been suffering from lack of sunlight exposure and malnutrition.
It is further alarming to learn that Ekpar Asat has been held in solitary confinement, which can worsen his conditions and wellbeing. According to international human rights laws and standards, solitary confinement shall be used only in exceptional cases as a last resort, for as short a time as possible and subject to independent review, and only pursuant to the authorization by a competent authority.
Failure to provide adequate food and health care to detainees and prolonged solitary confinement, particularly when combined with isolation from the outside world, may violate the prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
I therefore call on you to:
• Ensure that Ekpar Asat has access to adequate food, health care and prompt access to medical attention;
• Ensure Ekpar Asat has regular, unrestricted access to a lawyer of his choice and his family and that he is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment while in detention;
• Release Ekpar Asat unless there is sufficient, credible and admissible evidence that he committed an internationally recognized offence and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards.